Project 365: Day 4, Ellis Bridge

Good Morning and welcome to another episode of Project 365! Hope this doesn’t start  to seem like a daily soap which people hate but can’t help watching!

Anyway…. so yesterdays disastrous morning turned out to be a blessing in disguise! On my way to office I happened to chat with a dear friend and he gave me the idea for todays image!

The Ellis bridge is a 120 year old heritage bridge built across the Sabarmati river in Ahmedabad that is still operational. Two new bridges were constructed on either side of it to take care of the heavy traffic about 10 years ago. Currently it remains closed most of the time and is opened only for pedestrian traffic during festivities.

Romancing the Royals: Part 1

There’s a specific quality about cities that makes tourist attracted to them. Most often it is the architecture, heritage and history that pulls tourists towards them. As these qualities are marketed and promoted over the years the city becomes a tourist hub where everyone is into the tourism business. I felt this as I was walking through the streets of the city of lakes. Beautiful city to my eyes with extremes of classes with beggars on the street to the Maharajahs driving golf carts in their exquisite palaces. But then the situation here is no different from any other historical city in India.

Another of my one day outings, I must say, travelling alone has its own benefits. For starters you make your own plans and secondly you have no one to blame but yourself if they don’t workout! I started late in the morning, still recovering from a hangover, but determined to explore the city and leave by night fall. My first stop was to be the City Palace that is at the heart of the city on the bank of Lake Pichola. The walk from my hotel located near the main interstate bus depot was comfortable and I was using the faithful Google Maps on my Android to find my way, occasionally asking for directions.

Walking around the city often you are treated to unexpected treats. The Vintage & Classic Car Collection, The Palace Udaipur was one such surprise. The well maintained collection is housed in the former Mewar State Motor Garage which also has the Garden Hotel inside its premises. Some notable gems from the collection included 1946 Buick, Cadillacs, 1934 Rolls Royce Phantom II, 1959 Morris, 1930- Ford and 1961 Austin.

Out of the museum thoroughly satisfied I stopped for breakfast just across the museum. I was treated with the most tasty Stuff Patato Parathas(Indian stuffed Bread) at a shop run by two brothers. After stuffing myself to my heart’s content I bid adieu to them and continued my walk towards the City Palace.

So my day in Udaipur was started thus and well begun is half done, I  say….!

A day in Junagadh, Gujarat

People moved  through the narrow lanes of the city casting long shadows in the morning sun. The old broken walls, arches, wooden doors tested by time stood as silent audience to the morning drama that unfolded. The city was still asleep yet old men with crumpled faces holding large copper pots with milk, walked swiftly through the cattle infested streets. Women in their traditional sarees, the young partially veiled and the old and experienced unveiled also walked alongside them. Sweepers had become busy dusting the road, kicking an occasional dog out of the way. People sat reading their Gujarati dailies outside their houses, having sips of hot tea which was carried by scruffy teenage boys. Some shops were opening shutters, cleaning, burning incense in front of deities and idols arranged at the back. Cattle sat lazily, looking grumpy in the middle of the undulating streets while dogs continued to chase cars.

The aroma of the tea beckoned us to the main city square. More people could be seen sitting with their copper pots along the street. Copper pots were being loaded onto carts and scooters that would deliver milk to the city. Young men chewed tobacco, smoked and wandered in the square. Little children sat alongside their mothers. The city of Junagadh was coming to life!

Junagadh is the main city of Junagadh district in Saurashtra, Gujarat located at the foot of the Girnar hill. About 400 km from Ahmedabad, it is the seventh largest city in Gujarat and the only place in the world where you can see the Asiatic Lion.

After walking the streets in the morning, next up was the Darbar Museum, housing the royal court and the artifacts, weapons of the various Nawabs(Kings) that have ruled Junagadh. Following this we visited Uparkot Fort, from where you can see the city on one side and the Girnar hill on the other.

Junagadh-city-from-Uperkot-fortThe highlight of the trip was however the Bahauddin ka Maqbara or the Mahabat Maqbara. Exquisite minarets with spiral staircases and intricate carvings of the monument left us spell-bound. Sadly, the Maqbara has not received the attention it deserves. The monument is protected by the Archeological Survey of India, which hasn’t done enough to protect it. The complex is used by children to play cricket and the minarets are in a dilapidated condition and often misused. In the evening the place is deserted and the lights put in place don’t work.

We left the place with a heavy heart, wanting to capture more in our eyes and cameras, but alas the mundane of the routine awaited us the next day…

A common tale of separation…

Ryan sat wrapped in his thoughts as his boss discussed about office politics in the back seat of his car. Ryan had missed his bus, of all the days,  today, when there was a transporters strike. An hour after waiting for a lift, finally it was his boss who had stopped the car. Ryan was relieved, thinking he could make it into the city in time, which indeed he did. Ryan got down on the highway and took a taxi from the cross roads to his apartment. As he got down near the apartment, he realised that he had forgotten to buy veggies to cook for the night.Tired and bored, Ryan decided against cooking for the evening and instead went down to a restaurant nearby for dinner. He ordered for french fries, a large bugger and a soda.

As the waiter brought his order, Ryan noticed her, a beautiful girl, sitting right in the corner, just two tables in front of him. She was the same girl he had passed on his way in.  Ryan forgot the horrible taste of the burger almost immediately. A strange urge to walk up to her table and tell her how beautiful he thought she was took over him. Just then her friends, two girls and a guy, appeared out of nowhere. Ryan cursed under his breath, through his half eaten burger. His meal was almost over, while theirs was just getting started. Ryan couldn’t take his eye’s off her angelic face. They had made eye-contact several times in the past 15 mins, however the girl became more conscious after her friends had arrived. Ryan ordered for another tasteless burger with the hope of making eye contact with the girl again. He admired her jaw line and well placed cheek bones. She had a perfectly photogenic face. Ryan, a photographer, couldn’t help but imagine, what a beautiful face the girl had for portraiture. He would do anything to photograph this girl. Just as he was lost in his thoughts, the waiter brought his bill. Ryan paid the bill and got up to leave. As he crossed the door, he glanced at her one last time and there, their eyes met! For a moment, a thought of stopping at her table, and telling her what he felt, flashed through his head, but he had not stopped.

Instead of heading home, Ryan found himself waiting outside the restaurant. He had to see her face once, he thought. Once he had to let her know that he was still there waiting. He felt he was out of his mind, having never done this before. As he waited outside he noticed that, now she had her back to him. He silently cursed his luck and sat down on the curb, thinking was it desperation, plain infatuation or just love at first sight that had hit him here. As he pondered on this, he saw her walk out on the road, but alas he had not seen her come out! He had not seen her face, as she crossed the road with her friends with her back to him. She would have turned to see him if she had noticed him sit on the curb, but she didn’t. She continued to walk away from him. Ryan got up and started walking briskly towards them. As they walked under the street lights only their shadows appeared to move. Ryan kept walking briskly, stopped, briefly glanced over his shoulder, then started walking towards his home again.

What if Ryan had stopped at the table to tell her how he felt? What if Ryan had followed her home, just so that he can “accidentally” bump into her again?