Saturday, September 17, 2011

Our Amdavad

Our city, Ahmedabad, for some of us, is a city of blends, and for some others, city of contrasts! But, once you experience Ahmedabad, you can never forget it. It probably was easier to recreate Disney land in various countries than to even think of recreating Ahmedabad! Ahmedabad- an imperfect city like many others with its own growth quotient- slow it was, steady it is.

The city has been contributing to the National economy in its most humble ways by being the Manchester of India once upon a time, to now becoming the Oslo of Gujarat, having the highest number of multiplexes!  Amdavadis splurge, but they ensure the return for each penny spent. While the grocery shoplets have been replaced by the mega malls all around, we still happily exchange a bowlful of sugar with our neighbours!

We have learnt things to keep in pace with the fastest growing economies of the world, yet retaining the very ethnic and rustic feel! An Amdavadi will never abandon a sweet bhakhri pizza dressed with a heap of shredded cheese, while accepting the soft based pizza italiano! The burgers and dabelis are loved equally and the ‘Thali’ concept has popularly been extended to even Mexican and Italian cuisines :)

Amdavad celebrates a festival called LIFE. Yes, 365 days, we have celebrations on! But, some days, we have them a little more intense! The fun, frolic, flaunts of figures depict Navratri in Ahmedabad. For 9 nights, the city suffers from a pleasant amnesia, ultimately having a nap after putting Ravan to fire on Dussera! Uttarayan, another unique feature of Gujarat is celebrated on 14th January during which kite flying is not the only activity that goes on, on the terraces. Showing off the latest western attire to make neighbour jealous and match making for X’s daughter with the boy on the next terrace are pretty much parts of celebrations :D 

The ‘flip-flop’ loving generation of ours which loves experimenting with tattoos, trying different business ventures and even yielding in to the creative calls from within is only a generation away from the men and women dressed up in creased out clothes with neatly oiled and/or tied hair, with a formal footwear, following their familial vocations or being content in humble salaries to lead a peaceful life. The schools now have become private and tuitions, personal! The great Amdavadi traffic sense has managed to prevail even on the 6 lane roads in this intelligent generation! Honking still remains their birth right and noise pollution for them is only when the Garbas are played after mid night. All the rest is the part of daily chores and not noise pollution, in any case!

While you may believe that everything is going towards entropy, have a close look. We have the youth, responsible enough to sit by road side and teach the slum children, in the street lights. Group of friends working towards cleaning of an area, serving through blood donation camps, helping NGOs in saving the tree massacre and yet another serving free food and water to the needy! 

The richest culture of Ahmedabad is Kitli Culture. The discussions that go on at these kitlis can range from the team selection to business strategies of Ambanis-Tatas, to political sense of Obama to any other thing. While in discussion, each Amdavadi becomes Arnab Chakraborti and Barkha Dutt. The authority in their voice may for once force the selectors to change the team:)

There are several such distinct temperaments of the city that can be talked about. And so, see you here, with a distinct flavour of Ahmedabad, everytime :)


  1. Hi Gayatri, Isn't the habit of "borrowing sugar and chai ki paththi with our neighbours" a part of our CULTURE... I guess it happens accross the country, Tamil Nadu for sure. The better side of it is build bridges!

    I loved your remark on Pvt Schools and personal tuitions... :~) I've some tuition centres with flourishing business only in Gujarat... A couple of my friends who teach Maths earn manyfolds than what they ear from thei school as a "TEACHER"

  2. Ramjee: Agree completely. And so, Ahmedabad is no exception :) It is these gestures that makes us so so so Gujarati and so so Indian :)

  3. Loved your posts. Both of them. Good writing.

  4. Forgot to mention that your pic of the Harba where the girls are in motion... It is immaculate! Keep them coming!

  5. Very interesting information about our Ahmedabad. Thanks