Sabarmati Ashram

A violent life.

Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bangalore




The tale of three cities.

I never imagined that I would say this but, the Brihan Mumbai and Bruhat Benglure Palika sweepers of Mumbai and Bangalore do a better job than the ones in Ahmedabad.

It's not because they work harder but it'sl because Mumbai's Clean-Up! and Bangalore's system seem to be more efficient. The roads are cleaned on time and the collected leaves, paper and plastic taken away in a well-planned manner.

Meanwhile in Ahmedabad, they were seen making little fires of trash at street corners.

And finally, garbage collectors all over the world do this:

Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad

Selective Gandhi Series No 3: Padayatra.

"For bringing awareness and awakening..."

Maybe, like us today, most people those days must have been only worried about the ordinary things. The freedom struggle was something you heard about on the news and you couldn't afford tea leaves to Jago Re out of your charpoy. How do you awaken a population that's mostly illiterate and has an average life expectancy of about 25 years (1921/31 census) to follow you?

Ask the Mahatma.

Sacred cause and effect.

Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad

Selective Gandhi Series No 2

So it's nothing new, Congress and corruption. And here it is listed as one of his worries by Gandhi himself.

Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad

Selective Gandhi Series NO 1: Kasturba

Kasturba Gandhi's corner in the museum at Mahatma Gandhi's Sabarmati Ashram.


Kasturba's grandchildren.

The domestic life of the Father of the Nation must have been very interesting.

Sabarmati River, Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad skyline from Mahatma Gandhi Bridge. And the still water smells like the collective waste of an Indian city. But that shouldn't affect a person from Mumbai, used to much stronger scents.


Iron Man on an Ahmedabad Wall.

Rapar, Kutch

Kutch main nahi khaya, toh kuch nahi khaya: Fafda Jilebi Breakfast.

Thankfully Idli - Dosa - Poha - Sandwich hasn't reached Rapar, the dusty, dry and now blessed with faraway Narmada water, once in 2-3 days for half-an-hour, town. Rapar has Pav and the Vada but they don't put the two together and serve. That's because the food here in a town where a pot of saline water used to cost Rs 3 before the great Bhuj Earthquake is bloody awesome. And once you've had it, you will never like the ones served in Mumbai, ever.

For the record, Rapar is a taluk HQ that is booming and will become a large town over the next few years. The turning point was the Earthquake in Bhuj, 5 hours away. They say that the monsoons have been good ever since and Rapar being the biggest town in this part of the rugged Kutch, has grown as a trading post. The crop that's making people here rich is the Jeera. It's called the 'Jugaar' crop and a lucky farmer goes on to make lakhs. And a lakh goes a very long way in this part of the country.

Post Earthquake, there's a New Rapar with roads at right angles that's come up. The town that serves hundreds of villages is just a short drive from the Hema Malini's-Cheek smooth National Highway that connects Mundra and Kandla Ports to North-Western India making it a fantastic trading post.

And there's one thing all traders, farmers and shepherds who come to dusty Rapar will enjoy. The good food.

Ahmedabad, Gujarat

India's Idea Man: Mahatma Gandhi.

Off NH17. Kolad

Rational Fear: Head-on collision caused by rash overtaking.

The story about yesterday's accident, not too far away from where this signboard was ignored, here.


‘Thalapakatti Naidu Ananda Vilas Biryani Hotel’V/s Thalapakattu Biryani and Fast Food' Case.

Biryani, India's most popular dish is actually an Iranian import. And since we Indians never agree on anything and each of us love to do it our own way, there are a thousand varieties of Biryani available across India.

Down South, people take their Biryani very, very seriously; be it Hyderabad, Bangalore, and especially in Chennai which contrary to what people in the vegetarian North and West think, love fish, chicken and meat.

There are many types of Biryani available in Chennai. From the Tamil lands, there's the Dindigul (thalapakattu) Biryani, Ambur Biryani (from Arcot and similar to Hyderabadi), Chettinad and Buhari (after a family-run restaurant). There could be more varieties but I have tasted just these.

When it comes to popularity and marketing, the Thalapakattu (turban) Biryani is Chennai's current battleground. The legend is that the man who started the restaurant wore a turban and people referred to the Biryani place by that name. And two groups claim that they are the original Thalapakattu Biryani.

The founder of the Dindigul-based 'Thalapakatti Naidu Ananda Vilas Biryani Hotel' definitely wore a turban and they have planted enough evidence in their restaurants dotting Chennai. However, this story is from a period when most Indians wore head-dresses, not just the Sikhs. The turban wearing Rawthers of Chennai were also selling a Thalapakattu Biryani in their restaurant.

The two fought it out in courts. The Madras High Court settled the case and directed the Chennai-based restaurant to brand its Biryani as ‘Chennai Rawther Thalapakattu Biryani’.

The turbans stayed on both heads. It seems that all Biryani makers wore turbans whatever their religion or caste and now it's time for their grandchildren with modern catering skills to cash in on the taste.

Today, the story is that many Thalapakattu and Thalapakatti biryani houses dot Chennai and it's become a generic name.

Muttukadu. East Coast Road (TN-SH49)

The New Chennai spreads and rises.

Thiruvalluvar Rd., Nessapakkam. Chennai

The many faces of Kamal Hasan.

Marina Beach, Chennai

Beach closed because of Cyclone Jal.

Sarangkheda, Nandurbar Dist. (MH)

"For Ladies" MSH 1.
A rare luxury for women on an Indian highway.

Singor. NH3

Singor. Your typical Indian Highway Stop.

Singor is a highway pitstop on the Dhule - Indore stretch of NH3. From here, one can exit towards Nandurbar town and district and on to Surat and South Gujarat on the 2- lane Maharashtra Major State Highway No 1. These are the things you will see if you stop here.

First Stop: Toilet For Men.
As for the women, Indian women should have developed enormous bladders by now.

Yum! Dhabba food. This restaurant was all vegetarian and the portion size, enormous. But that's by Mumbai standards where portions are like the flats and not like the average Mumbaikar's big fat ass.

The Chefs.

A drink for those who need it to add to the drunk driving statistics. It was closed on the day I was there because of Gandhi Jayanti.

Condoms Anytime. Why needs a slow death when you can drink and drive to death.

Mobile phone recharge.

Music and now videos for the road.

Recharged and ready for the next leg of the journey.


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