Navsari, Gujarat and more…
The last few days have been a blur, but at the same time, very exciting! I spent the weekend in Navsari, a small city which is south of Ahmedabad. The journey to Navsari took around five hours by train from Ahmedabad. After arriving on Thursday night I was picked up by some family friends and spent the next three nights in a flat we have in Navsari, which is pretty close to the railway station.
On Friday a havan (religious ceremony) was held at my mum’s, cousin’s house, in a village called Kadipore. That makes him my uncle! There were members of my extended family from India, Canada, South Africa and the UK. The havan lasted for most of the day and I took over eighty photos. From there we grabbed some sugar cane juice from a place ten minutes away from my uncle’s place.
On Saturday I spent the day at my grandmother’s village, Bodali, which was about fifteen minutes by scooter from our flat. She lives in the UK but is currently visiting India. I have visited Bodali a few times in the past so it was quite familiar.
We left there around 3pm and I got dropped off at the main bazaar in Navsari. It was pretty busy and I decided to go into a local photography shop to get a couple of pictures printed from my SD card for my uncle. The assistant put the card in his camera and tried to access the files. However, after ‘playing’ around for ten minutes and the assistant getting no where fast, I suggested we leave it as I had other stuff to do. I took the SD card and put it in my camera only to find that the photos had been deleted! Just my luck!
I headed back to the flat and joined some family for a dinner at a local restaurant.
On Sunday I wanted to spend my time in Dandi. It’s the famous place where Mahatma Gandhi made ‘salt’ from seawater in protest against the tax which the British had on salt. It’s also the birthplace of my dad.
It took around half an hour to get there. I had visited Dandi a few times in the past, but this was the first time without my family. Everyone was very friendly and wanted to know where my parents were and what I was up to in India.
I had a quick look around my grandfather’s old house and then headed to the Gandhi museum which was a five minute walk away. There was a huge iron statue of Gandhiji. The small museum was set up at the house where Gandhiji stayed. By coincidence, the day I visited was the anniversary of Gandhiji’s funeral; 30th January.
There was a lot of development going on but still at a very early stage. I would like to think that in a few years Dandi will develop into a bustling and vibrant town.
After the visit to the museum we went to the beach where I had a camel ride and dipped my feet in the sea. The tide was in and the water was amazing.
I hopped back onto the motorbike and visited a couple more houses on the way back. After dinner at my dad’s cousin’s flat we headed back to my uncle’s house in Kadipore.
Later that evening, I spent some time with some recently found, extended family and later went back to the flat to prepare for the journey back to Ahmedabad the next day.
On Monday I got to Navsari station around 9.40am. Fifteen minutes before departure my uncle arrived and presented me with a traditional garland of marigold flowers to wish me luck on my travels!
When the train arrived I sat in my allocated seat in the correct carriage. Ten minutes later the inspector came round to check my e-ticket. However, the date on my ticket read March 1st but today was February 1st! There was obviously an error in the booking! I moved to the carriage behind where I stood for about an hour. Later some guys told me there were seats in the carriage so I went and grabbed one. The area was packed with people. A few hours later another ticket inspector came and he fined me 290 rupees for not having a valid ticket. I tried to explain my situation but ended up paying. Not good.
The moral of the story is…check your train ticket before boarding the train!
Eventually I arrived in Ahmedabad at around 4pm.
Last night I had some luck though, for after some discussion with my friends I managed to recover 70% of the photos that I had taken on Friday which I thought were lost!