Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ahmedabad, and it's foul stories!

Anu - "Chacha! one bottle of mineral water please!"

Shopkeeper - "Here you go!"Anu - "This isnt a Kinley or Aquafina! Dont you have one of them?"

Shopkeeper - "No son! This is all I have. I am done with their stocks!"

Anu - "Okay! Here are 20 bucks. Thank You"

Shopkeeper - "No No! Water is a necessity, just 10 rupees please!"

Shushi - "Is the water really mineral?" I mean it reads 20 INR and you charging us only 10!"

Shopkeeper - "Do you know how much does these mineral bottles cost us?" 7 INR! So, as I said, water is a necessity. You take a red bull or a cold drink, I will charge you the maximum, but not for water. Allah wont be happy if I do that!"

Where do you think this may have happened? Ahmedabad, next to infamous Siddi Sayed ki Jalli. The little shop is next to a pan shop opposite to the Siddhi Sayed ki Jalli!

This is my blog after more than a year, and trust me, I always wanted to write on this topic, but then onset of the biggest election of the human history showed in. I didn't want to publish this, before I cast my vote, because my motive of writing is to pen down my thoughts and what I see and witness, rather being read as imposing my thoughts and personal liking for any given candidate who may be standing in the Indian election s 2014. Because, this would have not helped my motive and effort. 

It really bothers me, when my friends from outside Gujarat keep asking me if the stories that they hear from few political parties and sections of Indian media portraying about Gujarat since 2002 are true. I am probably grateful that they think I am well-versed with current affairs nationally and globally, and have been born in Ahmedabad and spending a considerable amount of time in Ahmedabad, would give a honest response. 

I love Ahmedabad as much as I love Calcutta, where I spent my childhood or Mumbai where I worked and have pent most of my summer vacations or a small sleepy town in the center of India, where I did my high school. I am completely against stereotyping of any city or people or communities, because I am an Indian, which is the largest secularist and democratic state to the globe. By the grace of God, I have traveled and lived in many places in my country, and when folks ask me which one is better. I really cannot think of one, Because every city has it's own charm and beauty, thats why they different. Mumbai has it's own charm, which is not as same as Calcutta or Chennai or even New York. Lol, infact the samosas of Mumbai, Ahmedabad or Calcutta tastes different, so why not love the charm of every city.   

Almost all the major and minor communities, ethnicity, races reside in India and have their steam in it's roots. India is a culture born out of each and every community, races and that is what makes Indians religiously democratic in nature. I have discussed in one of my previous blogs about Internationalism, which is the call of the hour for our globe. I did point out that how we will find people of our likings and disliking in each and every country carved on this planet. It's just the geographical divide, climatic conditions that make us look different. 

Ahmedabad, is the seventh largest metropolitan area and the fifth largest city in india . It is the judicial capital of Gujarat state, which has the largest coastline in India and has rich and vibrant history from an era as old as Indus Valley Civilization. Ahmedabad, as the name suggests, is named after it's ruler from 1400 B.C., Ahmed Shah, and take this as one of the pointer what I am trying to convey. 

The city is so vibrant that Mahatma Gandhi also established his ashram here on the banks of Sabarmti river, which flows beautifully midst of the city.

Despite all this, my city, is stereotyped and dragged by political parties and certain sections in media as being communal. This is extremely hurting, and false implication on the vibrant city. Ahmedabad is home to various communities who live in harmony with each other. Yes, there has been instances o f communal tensions between certain communities in and before 2002, alike other asian or western cities. Every city in the world, and I say that on record, have faced some kind of internal fighting sadly. If we humans were so damn matured, we never would have had wars or spending on armed forces. However, history has been my favorite subject and I believe, it makes you learn, forgive, and develop a better world around you. Ahmedabad has learnt from the wound. The communities are in harmony and there has been not even a slightest violence registered in it since 2002. It was probably because they never opened up, lived in themselves, they all drew lines and never realized what they were doing. 

Just for the record, I was giving my 10th grade exams in 2002 and now, here I am, an engineering grad. and a a full-fledge IT professional! Is it not sad on the part of few media houses and political parties dragging a state and a city in for their personal causes? May be they want to humiliate a given politician or party. Acting matured is an art you can't expect from classes, but atleast do not dare dragging a state or a city in your conversations. By doing that you acting no good, you are actually hurting the sentiments of many and many lives, many communities and even the economic prosperity of a state and city. What is the consequence?  

Someone today asked me she has heard there were no Christmas breaks in Gujarat, a principal and a scholar writes a letter to tell a story to it's students, but drags the state. Years back, a friend of mine from Delhi asks me that she heard there were human right violations in the state. In my eyes, this is completely incorrect. This also at certain level hampered economic investments in the most prosperous state of India.

Every entity on this planet needs continual improvement. I will be glad if real issues that brings prosperous change to a city or a state are brought on table by media or by political individuals.  I have friends from every corner of the world and am always open to meeting new people, learning new communities. We have one life, why not really love the fact that there is many beautiful and rich spirtiual believes and culture breathing around us. Needless to say, I had roommates from every community, I infact find usage of words like 'community', religion' taboo and while jotting this write-up, am wondering if they should be really written?  Gujarat and my Ahmedabad is rich and peaceful. If you want to talk about a sad year 2002? Why don't you remember that city was peaceful and together, when a temple was attacked by terrorists from across the border, when a series of serial blast shook Ahmedabad, and it stood strong and everyone had hands were clubbed together. How do any human being feel when their wounds are purposely kept afresh or pressed now and then?

As I said, Amdavadis will never tell you that you hurting their wounds. They will infact keep ignoring and laughing at such silly stories, and be graceful of not correcting you, as they will have all of the time to make their penny a pound! 

One more thing, that I wish to talk about is, the Gujarat Police. I everyday cross helmet circle, and I crib about the heat that I face for some 10-15 mins of halting at a signal. I see those policemen standing all day, safe-guarding and managing adrenalin rush. Similarly, on festive seasons, they have no holiday. I feel for them when the whole Police force of a state is questioned and go through media trial over. If certain folks do wrong they shall face the trial and be punished for it, but tagging and stereotyping the whole of police force is completely incorrect. Its an insult, that atleast my soul wishes to disagree with as those policemen at midnight hours guard societies. 

Drive someday, in the late hours in Ahmedabad, and you see them standing, guarding your city. Infact deployment of so many cops is also because the state and city is under constant threat and made vulnerable, as it has even stereotyped as not being vibrant and tagged as ungraceful. You are making my city, and India's fastest growing city vulnerable! Furthermore, Ahmedabad is a beauty. If one has ever come to the city, they fall in love with it. It has a rich heritage. The Srakhej roja mosque, which has been filmed in many Bollywood movies and Lothal, which reminds you of Indus valley civilization.  Ahmedabad is a city, where if you come across someone cutting your way in the traffic, he would smile and step behind to let you go.

Traffic! Ahh! Thats the core issue, by the way. Ahmedabad's traffic sense sucks! 

Gujarat is a dry state, and few people even have a problem with that. Well, it is based on the ideology set by the world-acclaimed Mahatama, whose preaching even the U.S. president wishes to follow, and Gujarat is proud to continue the ideology. Gujarat has been a dry state since years now, and the beauty is, that even without the taxes collected from alcoholic earnings, Gujarat is prospering -  an example that can be shared by India to the globe and followed by states which believe that alcohol is one of the medium of economic earnings!

Finally, you go, discuss issues you wish on political spectrum in India or anywhere in the world, but please do not drag a state or a city in pity conversations. Be sensible, think sensible, and do not hear.. believe what you see. 

Coincident to this write-up, just for the record folks, the infamous three wise monkeys of Mahatma Gandhi, who tell us the proverbial principle of "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" are in Sabarmathi Ashram of Ahmedabad! 

By the way, the mineral bottle wala chacha was helpful in tellling me about the textile mills and factory outlet in the outskirts of the city where I can find the few branded clothes with quite an irresistible price tag!


Anonymous said...

nice one !!

Dipen Vasoya said...

Good one Friend.
Yours is a nice attempt to request people to see the city and state with a different view. This surely is a thought of many gujaratis out here. You have put that thought in words....

Hemal Mehta said...

It is good to have your opinion about your city.... But it isn't good to share images from other websites without acknowledging it. Some of the photographs used in your post are from my website I would appreciate of you could give us credit for the same.