Days dawn as if the future is decided in a day’s time. Decisions are so fast that we know not where we have to travel the next day. Electronic-tickets or e-tickets as we say have helped me immensely in this ‘quick style’ life. The same happened when I was directed to Bhavnagar for a ship inspection.
And the 1st surprise was when I saw a person holding “Alcock Ashdown shipyard welcomes Rejil” and a thought went through my mind “am I really so big a person!!!” then slowly I told my mind to be quiet and this placard is just to identify you and not because you are important, but again I was stumped when it dawned to me that my accommodation was arranged in a 3 star heritage hotel -Neelambaug. The palatial hotel swathed me the ambience of my ancestral house with the Naalukettu (quadrangular buildings with open courtyards), the walls displaying pictures of the Gujarati culture in the Dress and jewellery. Also hung on the walls were their rich culture in art and tradition. After my shower, the waiting safari took us on the three-hour drive in my itinerary. And where were we heading?
To a place called Chanch, a name derived from the Hindi word chonch meaning beak. Yes, just have a look at the map and u will know that Gujarat somewhere resembles a beak. My eyes spotted the lone temple on a mountain, was the Palitana Jain temple, as explained by Mr. Rajguru, our guide cum quality inspector.
As my vehicle swished past a cart, I noticed a peculiarity. Neither an Ox nor a cow drove the carts. It was indeed towed by a camel. And the surprise was short lived, as it became a common sight. The garlic, onion and cotton crops lined the road like soldiers guarding the border, not to forget the dehydration plants for the onions. A small halt at Mahuva quenched my thirst with the honey sweet tender coconut.
On our way my mind longed to experience the drive in the chakda, the always-overloaded Enfield remodeled auto rickshaw, flouting all the rules in carrying passengers, but poor my prestige never allowed me to.