Couple of weeks ago, I had been to Udaipur. This was my fifth visit, but I had never been close to this city. Earlier I was always in a company. Cities, towns, villages, places don’t talk to you unless you pay special attention to them. This time as I was alone, I thought I will get to know Udaipur.
But this is not about Udaipur.
I can write about the Auto driver who drove me to Bandra terminus. From Shegav, he came to Mumbai in 1979. He told me that he was involved in some dirty business but lost peace over it and so gave it up. Now he is poor but satisfied soul. …. But this is not about Udaipur.
I can write about ‘youngistan’ in my compartment – constantly involved in vulgar jokes, rubbish talk. They were genuinely concerned that how people in Udaipur can live without Dominos and CCH (Café Coffee Day). …… But this is not about Udaipur.
I can share how I had to spend 24 hours without food, in spite of pocket full of money. But this is not about Udaipur. I can elaborate how during my return journey I was compelled to occupy upper berth for almost 16 hours …. sorry, this too is not about Udaipur. I am tempted to narrate a story of Marathi taxiwalah (what a surprise!!) who is in the business of driving taxi since 1962. He had a grand analysis of status of Mumbai and his comments on Raj Thakare, Congress, and people coming from other states to Mumbai were indeed thought provoking and humane. But alas, this too is not about Udaipur.
I can tell you how during Gujarat serial bomb blasts in July a ‘bomb squad member’ German Shepherd licked my feet on Udaipur station; how in the next round of vigilance the dog started wagging its tail. …. I can tell you about the driver who said that ‘nobody now belongs to Udaipur, and Udaipur belongs to no one, it is a lonely city’. May be, it is bit about Udaipur. I can tell you about food, roads, traffic, surrounding Aravali, big traffic circles and number of ‘gates’ in the midst of city. I can tell you how beautiful Udaipur railway station is. I can elaborate tourist economy and influence of Gujarat on Udaipur. It is something about Udaipur but then this can be about any city in the country
I went to Udaipur but I did not ‘meet’ Udaipur. Each place has a heartbeat, with which one needs to get attuned to. Each place has a story to tell, and one needs patience and time to get it first hand. Each place has its own voice….. one needs to be lucky enough to get close to it….
Unfortunately, Udaipur did not open up to me. It treated me as a stranger, because I carried too much of my world with me. I need to create space for Udaipur and wait for the grace to fall upon me. Then may be I will write about Udaipur.
But till then, it is not about Udaipur…..