" If you have two pennies, buy grain with one and a flower with the other. One will keep you alive and the other will give you the reason to be alive...." What a lovely image and thought. I have been preoccupied with life and death issues ever since the Delhi blasts. This old Chinese proverb put things in perspective ...a little. Why think of bullets when there are blossoms to gaze at? I was back in A'Bad after a few years... and I could not recognise the city, starting with the swanky airport.It is green, clean and ticking, now that Narendra Modi has successfully demonstrated his sharp administrative skills and got his State into shape. Nearly everybody I spoke to, from a businessman to a driver , talked about Mody in reverential terms. A beautiful and bright lady, who has an exciting World Peace project on the anvil (more on her and the project in another post), swore about the 'quality of life' in A'Bad... and I did a double take! Mody may have cleaned up his act, in terms of getting the garbage off the street, but Amdavadis rhapsodising over the 'quality of life?" That's too much!Especially since most locals are still enormously wary and guarded when it comes to celebrating Garba during Navratri. This year they will do so amidst crazy security at all the venues. How sad!!! We can't celebrate our festivals freely, we can't travel freely, or even talk to strangers freely ("what if...?") .
I was there at the invitation of the YPO's of Gujarat, to talk to them about the present scenario in India - politically, culturally , economically. It was a closed door meeting, so our exchanges took place in an environment of trust and confidence. One of the guys had organised an elaborate Maharahtrian feast in my honour, post-the event.I was really, really touched.... and overate, just to show my sincere appreciation. Puran Polis and Basundi?? Bliss! Masaley Bhaat, solachi kadi, Kolhapuri mutton, bhakris, varan... jhinga in coconut gravy, pandhara rasa chi komdi!What a treat. Earlier in the day, I had enjoyed a Gujju lunch at a friend's home, traditionally served in silver thalis. It was no small feat that I managed to make a pretty neat presentation after stuffing my face shamelessly! Mr. Mody has invited me back on the 30th for a full moon party in the desert , to celebrate the first day of Navratri. Alas, I have to be in Delhi... but I'm going to take him up on the invitation at a later date.
Ahemdabad is a transformed city. The State of Gujarat is booming. The mood is upbeat, as industrialists point out how there are no power cuts EVER! And that Mody's men are keen to attract even bigger investments despite the rather dismal economic story world wide. I mean.... who could have thought Lehman and Merryl Lynch would suffer such fates?