Thursday, May 25, 2017

My Travel Tryst With The Growing And Roaring Gujarat

"The earth has a music , but, for those who listen" - William Shakespeare.

The masth masth dancer, Raveena Tondon duplicate I found In Jamnagar rains

Why I chose to write a travelogue after long period is, my travel tryst with the "hamara Gujarat"(the term so dear to our Modiji) that is undoubtedly lauded for it's economic success as a model state in our country.  I was left wondering, why did I not be here earlier or spend more time than a week? 

Travels for me have mostly been beautiful holidays with my family, right from my childhood till today. I have numerous insights I gleaned while traveling the length and breadth of the country.  And so, in July  2013 , I landed in the hometown of our current beloved Prime Minister, the "Hamara Gujarat". I hardly had a week's time to accomplish a multitude of things. Spend time with relatives, visit popular temples, also explore the land of Mahatma Gandhi and the  amazing secrets of the "Growing Gujarat, the roaring Gujarat".

Landing in Ahmedabad city known as the Manchester of India (because of rapid industrialization) itself was thrilling. My mind had already visualized the dhoklas, khakras, the garba and dandia raas, hand stitched cotton/handloom bandhani sarees, and much more. The city that boasts of a terrific mixture of the old charm and also the modern amenities. I did encounter a few interesting incidents during my stay in the state, that are just appropriate to share herewith.

As is a practice for most of us, we got busy, trying to strike some tit-bit conversations with the driver en route the airport to the hotel. He took pride in explaining about the massive infrastructure development that was the dream accomplishment of "our Modiji"! I was bitten by jealousy every time the driver mentioned "apne CM Modiji". 
@Sabarmathi Ashram-Residence of M.K.Gandhi

It was not just about that. The driver had even found an opportunity to taunt me "yeh aapka Bangalore nahee hai madam, aaram se jaavo bina darke". That
 was how the driver managed to convince me about the safety practiced in this state when I had felt insecure leaving my belonging in the car as we entered an highway side restaurant.  With a bang on comparison. Phew! But, we have to agree, Gujarat was a state safe from theft. To correct myself, safest state. Also, safe for women. I could see pregnant woman come out alone onto streets at 9 PM to have some street foods like the "chaats" or for a quick walk.

Yet another incident that even multiplied my love for the state was the friendly and caring people we encountered. We happened to experience a wrecked car on the highway and had to pass time around in the fields at wee hours of midnight that too with two children with us. As the car was getting fixed we were  keeping our eyes and ears open for any mischief making stalkers or any prowling big beast. But the most unexpected and overwhelming thing happened. Every other passer by , be it a car or a two wheeler would stop, talk to us, offer any help, water or food. This generous gesture, I challenge would hardly be offered in any other state of India. 

The beauty of the state were the windmills dotting the stretch across the highways. The serene yet lonesome unending sea lines roaring some loud lonely music were hit upon the turning blades of the wind turbines. What an excellent technological beauty. 

Round the clock supply of water and electricity was something that I was envious about again, especially hailing from Karnataka that is almost popular for power cuts. Also the schools and colleges there have a well preserved culture, no "donations" and regulated affordable fee structure. All together, a place an "aam aadmi aka common man in India" can dream to live in.

My stay was based in the Jamnagar District. In the serene campus of Gujarat Ayurveda University.  Yes, we did travel to the places around, but the Jamnagar quarters itself was a heavenly abode for nature's best form. The rains just decorated the flora like a bride in full green with magnificent fauna, mostly colourful birds, giving the right melodious touch. Nature is best cure for the mind and what more could we ask for. The best rain dance was not by our Raveena Tondon after all. All these days I was a fan of "tip tip barsa paani", and am sure we all have our favourites. But the splendour of the peacock dance, yes, the literal dance, just left me jaw dropped with awe. Indeed a unique experience. 

Never give up! Hold on.

That's how this green lady enjoyed rains

ehem, this perhaps was the parrot dance on the rope, in the rain

The wait was on. For the right moment, right partner and a photographer!

When the mornee bagaa ma naache song was proved false, see next,
Because, it was the mor not the mornee that danced

Glamorous, as long as it does not open its mouth!

Blue crowned, prided plumes

Perched high on tree.

And it was never a tiring tour. In spite  of every long day we were seen jumping out of our rooms each morning like fully charged "Energized Dura Cell bunnies".  The hamara Gujarat did have a magical spell. Throughout our  touring around the state, we hardly rested our back to the car seat. I could see the enthusiasm in each of us. My little girl made little notes for herself. We were overwhelmed by the science and technology well put to use especially after the observing the simple methodologies like dams and water sprinkler irrigation system.

True to the famous quote, "collect memories not material", we gathered some of our best, from the nature that no souvenir could make up as a memoir. A few words and a few pictures are just an attempt to get you close to the reality and the thrilling journey we experienced. 

A travelogue is always an incomplete diary....

More can be expected from my Gujarat diaries soon.