Shit, I’m 50. But at least I got to celebrate it in India! Had room service breakfast then headed up the road to check out the Gujarati craft emporium on Ashram Road. Some great bargains and lots of really cute handicrafts and clothing. Then had lunch at the excellent Kunal restaurant also on Ashram road, then wandered around the old town and very crowded and lively market before a very interesting Gujerati birthday dinner at the House of MG. Some very weird and unusual dishes as well as unusual staff at their rooftop garden. Dal with sugar, bitter dishes, sweet and spicy things, all quite different to anything we’d had anywhere else in India.
Next morning was our car trip in our tiny little Indica. Started with yummy South Indian breakfast at the Sree Darshan restaurant on Mangaldas road just before Ellis Bridge which became our regular haunt. Especially the fried idli, a dish we haven’t found anywhere else. Our tour started at Gandhi’s Ashram, beautifully located on the river and a very peaceful place. Many of his original rooms and belongings and a well presented museum. Next was the Adalaj step well which was well decorated but the Bundi wells were probably more impressive. Then it was onto the Akshardam temple, a sort of Hindu theme park with imposing buildings, cultish people, Disney style panoramas and an excellent food court. Weren’t allowed to take pictures unfortunately. A long dusty drive brought us to the haunting Sarkhaj Rosa mosque complex, with marble tombs, a Sufi mosque and some more odd people. Dramatically located on a dried up tank, it was worth the trek there past tempting air conditioned malls! Dinner at Kunal again, where we helped celebrate a local family’s birthday.
Brekky at Darshan’s then an auto to Karkaria Lake. Started at the zoo which was quite an interesting one and quite well cared for by Indian zoo standards. Mainly went there to see the gujarati lions, which were quite impressive but couldn’t help laughing at the cages of Australian budgies, lorikeets and cockatoos. There was even an emu! Wandered along the lake a bit then caught an an auto to the 10 Acres shopping mall where we got some nice Gujarati food and bought some T shirts and other bits and pieces. Back to the hotel to check out then walked down to Law Gardens (made famous in a Chetan Bhagat book) which was busy with people enjoying a day out. Dinner at Kunal again before hopping on our overnight sleeper to Mumbai!
Das looks at the pros and cons of the Indian arranged marriage in this entertaining autobiography. Her honest writing and research makes it a very worthwhile read, and she really makes her family feel as familiar to the reader as your own. She’s also not scared to criticize or analyze her own behaviour. I can’t see many advantages in the arranged marriage, in fact it’s a terrifying thought who I would have ended up with if my parents chose my partner! 81/100