26 December 2007

Visit to my hometown

I had been to visit my parents' place(maika) in Baroda with my husband over the Christmas holidays after more than a year. The visit was short and planned quite suddenly. However, it was among my best times ever spent in Baroda ever since I left it a decade ago. The journey both ways was shorter than expected. I met some old friends, spent a lot of quality time with my parents and also got to relax and be pampered for a change! I think what helped is that there were no undercurrents or tension involved in this visit.

I got to see Baroda in a new light. It has changed quite a bit over the years. New and fancy buildings are cropping up everywhere eating up a lot of empty spaces. Lot of malls and restaurants have sprung up. The festive occasion of Christmas had people teeming on the streets, movie theatres, malls as well as restaurants. Though the mall and multiplex culture is not as rampant here as in the metros, it is catching up fast. I've never seen such crowds or traffic jams in Baroda before. Never were Xmas celebrations so obvious in the city as they were this year. One could see a Santa Claus at every corner, the entire city was out having fun on the evening on Dec 25. So much so, that our neighbour's son found a Xmas gift from Santa under his pillow on Xmas morning! It was surprising considering that they are a conservative Vaishav Gujarati family!

Inspite of this change, I love that the people of Baroda are still rather simple and homely. It is basically a quaint royal city with a lot of history and therefore rooted in conservatism. There are a lot of snacks/chat joints & coffee shops for college crowds, but the Barodians are inherently not foodies unlike the Puneris. Of course, some things still have not changed - such as things are still a bit disorganized and chaotic. The parking on the road-side is pathetic and the city could do with some major spring cleaning. It was the time of election counting during my visit and there was palpable tension on the streets as to the outcome. There are clear Modi and anti-Modi camps and there was a lot of speculation as to the results. Though I never take much interest in politics, this was something I garnered from the bits and pieces picked up from newspapers, media, conversations with friends and acqaintances and word on the street.

The shopping complexes of Baroda still tempt me and I do most of my shopping there. I love the fact that you enter one complex and can find a shop there for almost anything at reasonable prices. And oh yes, nothing beats the chat of Baroda and the sweet n savory shop named "Payal"!

All in all, this visit reconnected me to my hometown and helped me look at it more objectively this time.

1 comment:

Azra said...

I was inconspicuous in your " visit to home town"........ :(

But good to know you are pursuing your creative writing skills, something that you have always liked..

Looking forward to read more.......

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