12-12-12 will always be a day I remember.
In the year 2000 I was a freshman at Ohio State University. I had three roommates, but the only one I really got along with was Karan. He was from India, from Ahmedabad. I’ll never forget how he said it because it wasn’t until he actually showed me on a map, when I could read the city, that I understood what he was saying.
And this is what makes travel so amazing. What was once an unreachable, far off destination was now a bus ride away.
I couldn’t have scripted a better story though, reaching Ahmedabad on 12-12-12 exactly 12 years after living with Karan. As the rickshaw pulled up to his house it was like deja vu. He hadn’t aged a day. Yes, this means that he looked quite old when he was 18, and now at 30 looks age-appropriate or even young.
While in Ahmedabad Karan took me around to the must-see places. I visited Akshardham, a huge temple just north of the city. I visited some of the famous restaurants and landmarks. The coolest place we visited was a restaurant called Vsiahala.
The restaurant is set up like a traditional village. There is a small museum, a small market, and a communal area where people can sit on the floor and have dinner. There are puppet shows, musical performances, and other forms of entertainment.
The food was amazing. Gujarati food is quite different. It’s not spicy hot and it’s very sweet. They put jaggery (sugar that comes from sugar cane – also called panela in Spanish) in everything. The food is all cooked over a wooden stove. It was a fantastic experience. Some pictures below.
In visiting Ahmedabad my goal was to have a reunion with Karan and visit Gandhi’s Ashram. I had another friend there to visit as well, the founder of The 4th Wheel. Karan’s family couldn’t have been more accommodating. Such nice people. It was easy to feel at home, which I knew I needed before entering the chaos of Bombay – the next stop.