February 06, 2011

A Sabarmati Moment



Later, stepping past the entrance and onto the freshly washed tree lined approach reflecting the morning sun in tiny pools of water each time a light breeze blew in from the river, nudging leaves into letting light course through and momentarily relieve the shade of its cool, moist grip, I paused to watch a young boy trail a kite behind him. He tried in vain to interest his pet dog in his morning endeavour but it had other priorities than follow a paper kite.



Watching the kite rise up behind him the boy ran up to where the path forked at the Upasana Mandir, the ashram prayer ground where inmates of the Sabarmati ashram used to gather with Mahatma Gandhi for morning and evening prayers and his sermons, before turning and running all the way back, scattering squirrels back up the trees. In the shade of trees, the prayer ground overlooks the Sabarmati river.

A lonely figure of a young woman of foreign origin sat hunched over a book in the warmth of the sun, oblivious to the shrieking of parakeets perched on the concrete wall channeling the river onward.

In an opening between raised platforms a wide flight of steps led down to the river. Scattered on the steps were youth in deep contemplation, gazing fixedly at the shimmering waters of the Sabarmati, their whispers if any lost in the breeze. The only sounds floating up were of parakeets squawking urgently, followed by those of crows. Even the steady crush of leaves as sweepers cleared the litter seemed to emerge from the trees, of which a wide variety was represented, among whom the Neem and the Ashoka seemed to be particularly favoured.


Flowers were many, in kind and number, drawing Sunbirds into their midst. It had taken me only a few moments after stepping out the rickshaw to find out that while times had changed, timelessness had not.

14 comments:

Riot Kitty said...

Really beautiful, both the words and pictures.

Amrita said...

Great!...All it takes is just a moment to realise timelessness

neha said...

beautiful!

Anil P said...

Riot Kitty: Thank you.

Amrita: That's true. Thanks.

Neha: Thanks.

Niranjana (Brown Paper) said...

Although I lived in Ahmedabad for two years, I never visited Sabarmati. In hindsight, it's an idiotic omission, but back then, we were focused on Matters of Consequence (as The Little Prince would say).

Anil P said...

Niranjana: Hopefully you'll redeem the omission someday soon. In this time and age, a visit to Sabarmati will qualify as a matter of consequence.

A place such as Sabarmati, consecrated by the noble concept of Satyagraha will inspire those who'll allow for inspiration, in addition to Gandhiji's presence that is sometimes possible to sense in moments of quiet.

Abhilash Pillai said...

I always wished I could visit the ashram. However, plans are always plans for me :(

You wrote it very well.. the the pictures are really good.

NRIGirl said...

Hi Anil P! That was a beautiful write up. Thank you for taking us on your visit to Sabarmati...

Lynn said...

What a wonderful description of such a beautiful and peaceful place.

A said...

Excellent write up and great pictures

Anil P said...

Abhilash Pillai: Thanks. You must visit Sabarmati Ashram sometime. It's truly defining in many ways.

NRI Girl: Thank you. A pleasure to know you liked the post.

Lynn: Thank you.

A: Thanks.

Agnija said...

Just wandered into your blog during my random surfing. What a treat! Lovely description and beautiful pics. May be someday I will get to see Sabarmati in person.

dr.antony said...

Anil
You make me repeat my statements.
Like an artists brush, like a flowing river....

Beautifully written.

Anil P said...

Agnija: Thank you. Visit Sabarmati Ashram.

Dr.Antony: Thank you. It's a pleasure to know that you think so.