Gujarat is my homeland. It hasn’t felt more so than it has since I have started living in Baroda. The people, the roads, the food, the culture – nothing is new to me. I can speak the local language, I can read it. Even though it is not my mother tongue, Gujarati feels very familiar and I like the sound of it. After my 12thstandard, I moved to Maharashtra. Even though I lived in Surat for 2 years, Baroda feels like home.
Festive season is back in Gujarat. Now, it’s Uttarayan. Kite flying is a huge craze here. It is impossible to go out on 14th of January because you are likely to be struck by entwined maanjhaall around the roads and buildings. Uttarayan has proved to be perilous for innocent birds. While Barodians will be flying kits with equal gusto this time, they have consciously widely shared bird helpline numbers where people can call to help injured birds.
Every evening I saw this patch of OP road, where lots of colourful kite stalls had been put up. I got driven there last evening just to have a look. One of my friends had told me that the whole area becomes madness as Uttarayan approaches. I wanted to see that for myself. Truly, it had turned into a fair of sorts. Hawkers sitting on the road sold glittery trumpets which made the sound of elephants and crying kids. They played that in my ear as I passed them. A seller jabbed an inflated guitar at me. A hawker launched a paper snake in front of me and scared me.
Some pics below:
(My home entrance decorated with kites from one of the stalls. The beautiful toran has been purchased from a handloom exhibition)