January 11, 2009

The Divided City

Every city is divided. Calcutta is torn between her past and present. Bombay between her haves and have-nots, Delhi between her Lutyen and the rest, Bangalore between her malls and roadside bakerys. The list just goes on. But for Ahmedabad, the story is stark and hits the eye.

For me, for a long time, Ahmedabad was a city of a Red Bricked building which gave me one of my closest friends, some of my best colleagues and tutors, an extremely forgettable story of someone committing a few mistakes in his life and of course a deeply hurt pride. You forget heartbreaks but you seldom get over a bruised ego. I knew I would not be visiting the Red Bricks without tall idiots accompanying me. I was not ready for it yet. One day the time would come.

I am getting old and learning to let go. And there was S, constantly gushing about the time spent in Amdavad. So today, for me Ahmedabad is a city of Gates. And there they were, almost on every street standing on alone, remembering the days when they had bordered the city from all sides. I was told to come to Prem Darwaza for working on some very unromantic activities and then we just gave the driver directions based on the next Darwaza we had been asked to come to. The old city stood proud with her dress in tatters and her head held high waiting for a time gone to come back again. That the exodus of her children had begun was very evident. But she stood in hope.

On the other side, the new city was raising its head just like another metropolis subscribing in full force to the Gurgaon phenomena where you replace the sights, aromas and sounds of a city with skyscrapers and long winded highways.

The river seemed to deepen the divide. I stopped the car for a while as I was heading back. I wondered if the chasms between humans were as deep as the river that flowed beneath me.

To find my answers, I must return again, if not to win another game of air hockey near Law Garden.

3 comments:

Addy said...

air hockey?

Madhurjya (Banjo) said...

yeah those board game Table tennis types

Shreya said...

I don't know if I have written about this on my blog. Amdavad could not be more a city of contradictions than it is. One has the feeling of safety - nobody will mug you, rape you or even lech - even at 12 o' clock at night. Yet, yet, the 'sensitive' pockets of the city have more presence of khaki than any other during events liable to draw huge crowds, for example, the 'Rath Yatra'. Shop-keepers don't stock their godowns during festivals, remembering the time everything had got razed to the ground. The religions inter-mingle at all levels, be it food or work. But undercurrents are there. And due to some strange voodoo, 'Ahmed'abad becomes 'Amdavad'.