Ahmedabad 1: Learning how to love 6 hours of classical Indian music while sitting cross-legged on the floor

Sitting in the furthest back of the bus from Udaipur to Ahmedabad we endured every bump and hole on the road. Next to us a father and daughter shifted in their seat as we left the cool mountain air of southern Rajasthan for the hot, fertile Gujarati plains. Warming up to the small family, we shared cashews and cakes. By the time we arrived to Ahmedabad our bums were beaten and bruised. Much to our relief, Bijal met us at the bus stop. His friendly face and warm welcome almost erased the numbness in our behinds. We had an hour to rest before dinner and the first Saptak concert. Our dear friends, Jason and Dana, traveled to India several times and their stories were what initially sparked our curiosity. Among the list of places not to miss and general tips about travel in the Subcontinent, Jason suggested that we go to Ahmedabad and visit his family and friends. He also suggested that we go during the first weeks of January, during the Uttarayan kite festival and Saptak, India’s premier classical music festival. Surya, Jason’s mother, was born in Ahmedabad and keeps close ties to her friends and relatives in the city. We were fortunate to arrive at the same time that she and Jeff, Jason’s father, were there on vacation. We intended to stay for three days but ended up extending our visit to ten. Through Jason’s parents, extended family, and friends, a new side of India opened up to us. For those ten days we left the backpack mentality behind and immersed ourselves in the lives of the wonderful people we met. We learned that Gujarati food is sweet and delicious. We had our first pan. Vivi learned how to put on a sari. Grego sat in awe among some of Le Corbusier’s greatest works. Most of all, we met amazing, warm-hearted people……

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the view from the back of the bus to Ahmedabad

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entering Ahmedabad

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our first night at the music festival we got to hear Zakir Hussain and Shiv Kumar Sarma!

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blurred tabla fingers

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Surya and Vivi in a rickshaw

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Gandhi ashram

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a local crazy at the ashram

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Amhedabad crossing: how is this miraculous piece of public art supported?

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Vaidehi teaches Vivi how to wear a sari (Koruna on the right)

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Jaysh takes Vivi out to buy new glasses

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Le Corbusier’s Mill Owners Association (wow!)

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Jeff and Grego contemplate the value of modernism

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Indian Institute of Management (Louis Kahn)

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atop an architect’s office, learning about the waterfront development and the future of the city

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a healthy optimism abounds

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Vaidehi’s chocolate factory. mmmmm

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rickshaws can be intimate places

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Corbusier’s City Museum

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Corbusier’s City Museum

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rooftops became favorite places in Ahmedabad

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We go on a city walk with Surya and Jeff…others obviously had the same idea

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Surya and her latino son

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like a roman legion

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Pariah kite

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the stone carving defies the material itslef. amazing

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Shiites getting ready to celebrate the fallen Hussain

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sugra cane

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from the steps of the great mosque

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a typical Ahmedabad pol facade

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molten jewelry

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Vivi and Vaidehi look for tops

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