Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Walking the Streets of Ahmedabad

Today, after a long time, I walked the streets of Ahmedabad.

It's been nearly 3 years that I have lived in the city. Like any other outsider, when I first got here, I didn't know my way around. I relied on others to take me around. But slowly, I found my geographical bearings. I came to know the city through her buses, her chugadas (shuttle rickshaws) and with my own feet. I have traveled the city a lot, taking new streets and expecting intersections, but found out from a series of wrong turns that the city followed the meander of the river and in fact was more like a half-circle. I have come to know some areas better than Amdavadis.

Today after a long time, I took to the street again. I sought to be alone. One would expect that I could find this in the isolation of my flat, but that was not the case. I found isolation in the noise of the streets. The focus became the few feet in front of me, the noise of the street dimmed away and I could hear my thoughts clearly.

As I walked, I recalled a philosophy / spiritual lecture that Guruji one gave where he spoke of tirth dhams or places of pilgrimage. People go to these places to be alone, which seems ironic as these places are very crowded. Yet the reality is that within the chaos of Kumbh, the crowds at Badrinath, the people at Mecca, one finds isolation. The crowds give way to solitude.

So the noise of the street faded away as I walked the familiar streets of Ahmedabad. My troubled mind calmed. In the bustle of the streets, I found my solitude as I walked the streets of Ahmedabad once more.

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