6 women set to explore the old city of Ahmedabad through their lens.
The challenge started with deciding if one could enter a mosque. That one was easy! – We sort of took over the Seedi Sayed ni jaali – a landmark and heritage site in Ahmedabad with over 6 cameras. Each one found a muse in a pigeon, a wall, carvings, water, men, women, dogs, crows… It was interesting to see each one lost but strung with a common goal of taking good pictures.
Well! The idea was to learn how to take pictures and they all expected me to help with that. I realised how difficult it was to teach someone what you are most passionate about. It is tough to get someone to look for a good composition or get them to make a good composition out of beautifully carved walls. I tried my level best but I think I need to be more prepared next time.
Well as the sun shown a little bit more our spirits were a little too higher. We climbed through narrow, dark and dingy steps of an old fort and secretly took pictures while the guard was not watching. Yeah! well what’s women’s day if we did not use our secret devilish powers? Some 200 shots down by each one of us (and I am sincerely hoping that along with having loads of fun each one of you learnt something new about photography) we stacked up our cameras at the house of MG (one of the finest restaurants in the old city and a must visit if you want to try unadulterated Gujarati food that does not taste sweet and is authentic!- BTW Gujarati food is not sweet) A good walk and some excellent breakfast we were up for new challenges.
We headed for the Sunday markets next. We were hoping to find something interesting and if nothing else, checking out the hype that we all had heard about but had never seen for ourselves. No one could have guessed that one would find old/new/stolen cutlery stolen from flights, rare books, furniture, brass utensils etc In my head I kept thinking – So this is the place where people come get antiques from! We were amused by range of things available but little did we know that there was something much more exciting coming our way. While one our group-mates was looking at a beautiful red lamp shade, we found a man constantly following and asking to go inside the office. The obvious thought was, What a pervert! We kept walking away from him while being instructed to take care of our bags and constant mental reminders on how we should get out of this place soon before we had our bums being pinched. So while we were making our way out, the pervert did not leave us alone and followed us everywhere. This is when our dear friend lost all her patience and picked a fight up with him.
In not less than 60 seconds we were surrounded by 50 people taking pleasure in watching a chinese lady fighting with the pervert who constantly kept asking us to go to some office. It was getting noisier by the milli-second when we were given to understand that the pevert was but a gaurd and had been asking us to go to the office to ask for permission to take pictures. We being the always alert lot – trained to never trust strangers demanded to call the manager outside. Well! the gaurd finally had to make a phone call and get the officer to leave his office to come and sort the matter out with us at our chosen place. While that all got sorted out as we told him that we were not interested in taking pictures and ofcourse proving our point by saying that at no place had they mentioned that we could not take pictures; another friend realised she had wallet was missing!
We did the needful by lodging the complaint and headed to get an FIR registered (which obviously we thought was simple formality) With absolutely no hopes of finding the wallet, but in desperate need of the copy of this FIR to get new license for our friend, we drove to the nearest police station to learn that we needed to go to another police station as the area where the wallet was lost did not fall under their territory.
Our Chinese headstrong but resourceful friend made a couple of calls to get directions to this police station and ultimately called up an auto driver to come and escort to the police station. So for about 15 minutes the care had one person constantly noting down phone numbers, and the other tryin to block her cards while I was trying to squeeze my car through the lanes and honking away to autos lying on the road.
We finally reached the police station where having spent two hours learning the following things:
· Criminals are nothing but like colleagues for policemen and are allowed to take mobiles in their cells
· Criminals come to these cells just to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon and make a few phone calls explaining to those outside on how to manage the bail
· The criminal inside the cell is more resourceful than the police man assisting you
· Police men get handwritten salary slips with a seal that makes everything look official
· 3/7 police men are not interested in their job
· Policemen enjoy writing FIR complaints with details that are absolutely not needed or connected to the cause
· Policemen have been appointed to re-assure you that you will not find what you have lost
· It is not a policeman’s job to find things for you! – so you better be careful about them
So it was a women’s day! But as they say, “A little madness is good in life or else it might seem like a few Thursdays strung together…”