My summer internship will take me to Ahmedabad once again. Last time I went there was in December 2002 for a project with National Innovation Foundation. 2002 was the year of that terrible earth-quake and then Godhra in Gujarat (I hope I remember correctly). When I had landed there, it was the time for upcoming elections.
What had made me really wonder as I treaded the roads of that city was how could such a peaceful city, such amiable people be a part of the kind of communal violence that did take place there. I was really, really surprised. I got down there at 2 am at night (morning)! (Okay, I do keep boasting about it all the time – but let me indulge once more!) This was the eve of Eid as well as Babari Mosque demolition. Elections were just a week ahead. And as I mentioned earlier, it was the year of Godhra incident! I was landing in the city (state) for the first time. I was alone. I had to find out the way to NIF Office and I could see no reasons to feel afraid. The auto-fellow was very reasonable, was patient throughout when I asked people for the directions and people whom I was asking didn’t even once expressed a surprise at what I, a girl, was doing alone at 2.30 at night looking for a place I had never been to earlier! (So what, if they were strangers. Do it at some other place and see in what number the preachers would come up.) When I found the place at last and asked the auto-wallah for fare, he actually took out the official list of fares and asked me to see for myself! This was incredible for me, really incredible. It was almost 2.45 at night by then and it was not at all difficult for him to guess that I was an outsider.
Even later, during my stay, many a times I had walked down from the office to the guesthouse at 1 ‘o clock at night.
This was the city. How could it ever become that violent? And yet it did! I sometimes wonder then whether I should rejoice in peacefulness or feel afraid that it might be deceptive. That worse in humans can come out anytime and that all rationale and feelings of human mind and heart can take a back seat. I really do not know.
Anyway, I am going there again. But problem this time is that I do not know what shall I do there this time. I have seen the major places in the city (that I would want to see) and have even been to Akshardham.
May be I will be able to find some new places or may be some older places would have more to offer. Or will my job keep me too busy? 😉
Since, we are at Ahmedabad, some of you might be interested in this story of ‘Innovator Uncle‘. I shall carry a camera this time, but shall the door open again? 😦