Culture, Language

Nobody uses street names in Ahmedabad. I’ve not seen street addresses of any kind. Directions are always in relation to nearby landmarks: Across from the Law Garden. Next to Veejay’s Restaurant, Across from Sidi Saiyad Mosque, etc. People seem unsure of the name of many streets, and buildings lack street names. But after a few days riding around in autorickshaws we are starting to get the hang of the place.

Unfortunately I probably won’t be able to upload photos until I get back home, because it is hard to describe places like Lucky’s, a South Indian restaurant built over an ancient graveyard, with tombs nestled in between the tables, and even a tree growing out through the roof. And even though the Makar Sankranti kite festival isn’t for a week, there are children on every rooftop flying kites to get their skills ready for the kite fights. The narrow, twisting, streets of the old city are full of merchants coating kite string with neon colored coatings made of broken glass, used in kite-fights. One of the stranger things I’ve noticed is the large number of people who have cotton in their ears. When we asked one woman why she had cotton in her ears she replied that it was to prevent catching a cold. Apparently they believe the cold air gets into your body through your ears. Not that our own flu prevention practices are any more rational…

I haven’t even gotten around to writing about why we are in Ahmedabad in the first place. Let me just say that we are working on a documentary film about a denotified community. It has been an exhilarating, but exhausting experience. At the end of the month we should be back in Dehradun where I hope to have more time to write!