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.