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Elita

Have Feet Will Travel Be You For You

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

iDrift | Taking Amritsar in Through the Senses

 If there is an Indianised version of Mills and Boon, I am pretty sure that the plot unfolds in the midst of Punjab’s ‘sarson ke khet’! But then what is Yash Raj Films if nothing but a symbol of the Indianized Mills and Boon?
You know where I am going with this.
Yes, I am thinking of DDLJ – my first visual on and of all things Punjab that was partially successful in overwriting the images of Green-Revolution-Punjab that my school text books had impressed upon me.
But that was when I was in school. A really long time ago. Prior to this unspoken challenge I have now on going with myself: to visit each of India’s 29 states by my 29th year – which by the way I’m already losing unless my north east India trip finds itself a sponsor!
But it’s this same challenge that brought Punjab back to the fore for me.

The Golden Temple at sunset | Amritsar, Punjab (April 2016)
The Golden Temple at sunset | Amritsar, Punjab (April 2016)

There are places that people sometimes presume you’ve definitely travelled to. Because, well, you are a traveller!
But then you haven’t and it causes eyebrows to disappear into foreheads.
Hampi was one such place.
Amritsar was another.
There are more. *draws out plans for Pondicherry*
But I digress.

Amritsar
I’ve missed two boats to this one in the past. So the third time opportunity came knocking, I grabbed it (and took a train instead #ExcuseTheLameJoke)

Amritsar
Historically speaking, because of the Jallianwala Baug massacre.
This remains a blot in the annals of history for the mass slaughter of weapon-less protestors during the pre-independent India era. 97 years later walking through the same premises was an eerie reminder of how much we’ve taken our freedom and independence for granted while further perverting it.

Bullet holes in the wall dating back to 1909 | Jallianwalla Baug massacre | Amritsar, Punjab (April 2016)
Bullet holes in the wall dating back to 1909 | Jallianwalla Baug massacre | Amritsar, Punjab (April 2016)

Walls and windows stand by today as they did then | Jallianwalla Baug massacre | Amritsar, Punjab (April 2016)
Walls and windows stand by today as they did then | Jallianwalla Baug massacre | Amritsar, Punjab (April 2016)

Amritsar
Culturally speaking, because of The Golden Temple.
But when I finally stood within its premises, I recall my allure towards it seeming misplaced. I experienced calm. In spite of the throngs around me. The last time something like this happened I was at Bodh Gaya in Bihar.

Where sacredness and sanctity meet | The Golden Temple | Amritsar, Punjab (April 2016)
Where sacredness and sanctity meet | The Golden Temple | Amritsar, Punjab (April 2016)

Sitting by the Golden Temple at dusk as the lights start to come on | Amritsar, Punjab (April 2016)
Sitting by the Golden Temple at dusk as the lights start to come on | Amritsar, Punjab (April 2016)

Amritsar
Politically speaking, because of the Wagah border.
But I watched as armies from both sides engaged with each other in a boisterous display of aggression for the audience – not before I also witnessed the audience themselves display a Bollywood brand of patriotism (also known as people grooving to the tunes of Chak De and Jai Ho while waving the Indian flag).
That being this close to one of the most tenuous borders known - Wagah | Punjab (April 2016)
That being this close to one of the most tenuous borders known - Wagah | Punjab (April 2016)

The throngs at Wagah | Punjab (April 2016)
The throngs at Wagah displaying the Bollywood brand of patriotism | Punjab (April 2016)

The parade itself and the lowering of the flags on either side of the border at sunset | Wagah, Punjab (April 2016)
The parade itself and the lowering of the flags on either side of the border at sunset | Wagah, Punjab (April 2016)


But Amritsar was more than that for me.
It was about farm-stays and fields of wheat
Sure my ancestral house back at my own native town was right in the midst of a field alongside a river, but I was ecstatic about a farm-stay experience on the outskirts of Amritsar city. Virasat Haveli was a far more enhanced version of my ancestral home no doubt but it certainly kept us close to the natural environs. Our two night stay was not without a tractor ride around the property, numerous moments spent gazing directly into the fields of wheat and live bhagra-gidda performances in the evenings.

The farm-stay : Virasat Haveli | Amristsar, Punjab (April 2016)
The farm-stay : Virasat Haveli | Amristsar, Punjab (April 2016)

Of wheat and fields of wheat | Amritsar, Punjab (April 2016)
Of wheat and fields of wheat | Amritsar, Punjab (April 2016)

Of wheat and fields of wheat | Amritsar, Punjab (April 2016)
Of wheat and fields of wheat | Amritsar, Punjab (April 2016)
Amritsar was about chopdi parathas, chole and lassi
Were it not for the obstinance of my friend, the rest of us would have been mostly content without ever wiping plates clean at Kesar Da Dhaba or chugging tumblers of milk cream thick lassi at Ahuja’s. No matter how hard pressed for time, never underestimate what savouring local food off the streets can do for your well-being!

*Sorry no photographs because well, it's food ;-)*

But mostly it was about the people.
People I met in the train. People I met while walking around the village. People everywhere who were willing to share something about them. It’s moments like these than enrich my travel experiences.

I’ll let the following photo posts do the remainder of the talking.
"Why do you want a photograph of an old woman?" she asked me in chaste Punjabi We'd found each other on the train from Chandigarh to Amritsar. She needed help navigating her e-ticket on her phone and that broke the ice between us. She spoke to me about her life in Calcutta after marriage, raising a family there and then moving back to Punjab. She spoke about her children - now all grown up and married; some with children of their own. Duly noted were her comments about train ticket pricing (it's all so expensive), the absence of 'tall' people in the current generation (she stood at a sturdy 5' 9" herself in spite of her age) and a few how-tos on The Golden Temple! To ensure none of what she said was in vain, I got asked whether I understood Punjabi! Such are the conversations I long for on my travels - a peek into the lives of everyday people! #amritsar #punjab #india #incredibleindia #indiatraveldiaries #travelpics #_soi #storiesofindia #igramming_india #wanderlust #indiaclicks #indiapictures #ig_captures #ig_india #instatravel #travelgram #travelstoke #igaddict #photooftheday #nikonforever #travelwithnikon #amwriting #writersofig #writersofinstagram #travelblog #travelblogger #lonelyplanetindia #passionpassport #lonelyplanetmagazineindia #HaveFeetWillTravel
A photo posted by Elita (@nomadicthunker) on
"Ji aap ko pind ghumna hain?" Pind. Village. Home. Living at a farm stay wouldn't have been complete without walking through the near by village. And so Didi (in this picture) escorted us through the lanes, took us to people's homes, walked us through fields as she plucked flowers, berries and seeds (which to me was much more educative than those botony lessons in school) and opened up a tiny window into the everyday lives of the local people! We continued to remain a spectacle but it brought us a little closer to the proverbial 'other'. Often barriers exist in our minds than in our physical environment! #amritsar #Punjab #india #incredibleindia #farmstay #ruralindia #farm #field #wheat #travelgram #travelstoke #_soi #_soidelhi #desi_diaries #storiesofindia #bbctravel #igramming_india #travelpics #wanderlust #lonelyplanetmagazineindia #lonelyplanetindia #instatravel #instagood #nikonforever #travelwithnikon #whyiloiter #iwanderwhy #HaveFeetWillTravel
A photo posted by Elita (@nomadicthunker) on


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Logophile | Tree-hugger | Wanderer | Cynophilist |

Heart+Mind behind ‘Be You For You’ and ‘Have Feet Will Travel’. At the core of what I offer and what I do best are three keywords: Storytelling. Expression. Authenticity.

4 comments:

  1. Lovely read of your experience, Elita. Would there be a detailed post soon?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you but I haven't thought about a detailed one yet, Niranjan. What would you like me to include though?

      Delete
  2. wonderful post, thanks for sharing

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