I haven't visited all the states in India. In the 30 years I've lived here I've probably seen maybe 1% of my country. There is so much to see here. Each time I visit a new place, all my senses are awakened. The food, the people, the colour, the smell, every little thing is so strikingly different from each state. I'm in awe every single time.
This trip was no different.
The itinerary and planning was in the hands of Jayanth - an NID alumni, who has dedicated 10 years of his life to rebuild communities and villages that were severely affected by the 2010 Gujarat earthquake. So this trip that he took 17 of us on, was like his love letter to his dear Gujarat. His enthusiasm to each and every community and their work was inspiring. I admire his knowledge and love for various textiles and unique designs. He took us to various communities that specialize in specific textile skills, coupled with natural dyes they have developed with years of trial and error; designs that are unique to particular communities and groups of people that for generations have worked on and improved their talent. Some have got doctorates from American Universities for their knowledge and expertise on the subject, another has their work gifted to Barack Obama - their work has got them so much recognition and it was such a treat to meet these individuals who have made such an impact.
Apart from this, going to Kutchch was something I've dreamt of even before going there. Seen pictures of the all white desert, colourful camels and even more colourful people. But it is a sight that has to be seen and experienced. The contrasting colours of barren lands and colourful people are a sight for sore eyes. Some of the villages we went to were so hot I often wondered how people survive with horrendous weather conditions, how plants and animals and children survive?
Human beings adapt.
And adapt we do! This made me appreciate the weather conditions I enjoy in Bangalore. These small things makes one appreciate where they come from.
This is what travel does; it gives you perspective.
The Rann of Kutchch - The white desert of nothingness, as Sudheshna explained it. Deserts aren't for everyone she said. It was 360 degree of nothingness, where there is nothing but everything at the same time. The nothingness of the land forces you to be still and listen.
Nothingness brought out a whole different emotion out of me.
The Rann is like a shapeshifter because when you see the pictures you may thinks it’s snow or the sea - anything but salt. This white desert has now gained a popular tourist following so everywhere you look there are tiny groups of people taking pictures, but if you want alone time, you could wander off, sit and let the nothingness of the land inspire you. Watch the sunset and watch the sky change colours and wait for the stars to come out. It was magical.
Ahmadabad on the other hand was unlike any other city I've seen in India. It is not your typical 'Indian' city for one. The roads are wide, so wide that they've made one entire lane in the middle just for buses -
This shook us Bangalore people.
The city is clean, and spread out. Not one pot hole threw us out of the window, the people are so welcoming and kind. I will give this city a 9/10 for having awesome and clean roads. I got to dance and make a fool out of myself during the Navaratri celebration - everyone at the dance looked so beautiful, the boys, girls, uncles and aunties! Everyone took the effort to look their best in their best Navaratri costumes and everyone danced the night away with beautifully synchronized dance routines. After a few hours of trying to follow steps, I gave up and made up my own steps to the beats. In life too, I've given up what everyone is telling me to do. I'm trying to make up my own steps here too!
From facing serious frustration of not landing a job for the past 4 months, canceling my tickets to Gujarat out of fear of landing one, I was not a happy person for a long time. This process has tested my patience to the zenith - I have learnt that I am not a patient person and I am no longer willing to 'settle' for a paying job. I want one in the field that I can see myself grow professionally and personally, so that makes my hunt even tougher. So after much contemplation, I booked my flight tickets again.
This trip was essential to keep my sanity.
And I am so happy that I did. This trip has opened my eyes and shown me new things, introduced me to amazing people.