the godavari ghats
i have always had a particular affection for the city with its clearly comprehensible structure, its vibrant godavari ghats and its newly developing areas with typical bungalows and apartment buildings at the fringes of the city. it must be because through my architectural career i have been part of two studies that concentrated on the city. the first was a nasa (national association of students of architecture) study that i was part of when i was in the 4th year of architecture at lsr. my first ‘urban’ study, as it was. we did not win the competition but i still insist it was the best study of the bunch that we saw at bhubaneshwar. the other was when i was a teacher for ninad’s class in the second year and we went to the city on a study trip. naturally, the throbbing activity of the godavari ghats ended up being the site for a highly controversial project. the stories that came out of that project are legendary.. sunil thavre’s ‘open to sky from the side’ story or the north signs on elevations that he actually tried to explain and justify to suneet who was towering above him in his threatening manner.
i love the godavari ghats. anything happens on them. though filthy and very disorganised, i love the fact that auto rickshaws as much as bullocks are brought there to be washed, people pray, people sit- and this time the river was full and flowing.. kids were frolicking in the water.. very exotic
anyway, this time we had gone for a completely different reason. the entire family was to be entertained at yashwant mama and amods place on the road form
'license no 1' claims to be the first shop to have a license to sell alcohol in the country- 1857 the date
pramod and hemant mama admiring the quota for one night
three cars left with three people each on saturday morning- i bunked school for this. mom, dad and me in one, hemant mama, madhavi mami and aaji in the second and dharmu mama, nikhil and usha maushi in the third. the entourage met at ‘midway park’ somewhere on the highway for breakfast and then proceeded together to
nikhil and me shared a room the first night in a rest house overlooking the main road ‘shalom’ it was called. the next night we had to move as dharmu mama needed a room for himself and it was the 4 bachelors anand, ashish, nikhil and me, that ended up sharing later. this discrimination against the unmarried must be stopped!
the first evening was more alcohol and drunken revelry, will someone please explain to me this urge for intelligent smart men to become silly slobbering idiots by drinking oneself into a stupor every afternoon and every evening that men have? i don’t understand it- i guess i am just a boring superior shy snob. anyways, i was not the only one who got annoyed at all the nonsense.. the women as a whole seemed also pretty pissed off, especially the so called guest of honor- meghana.. who admitted to being a grouch at these events.
the next day was even more sight seeing. in the morning a small group of us took off for the old town for the kalaram temple, the sita gupha and the ghats. i surprised myself by remembering the roads.
after we got back to the hotel and had a meal of dosas we headed for the planned excursion to sinnar to admire the factory of rubber, which was very impressive. what was more though was the ‘gargoti’ museum. some dude has decided to make a museum in the nowhereness of the sinnar midc estates dedicated to natural minerals, especially those found in the maharashtra region. amethyst, gold, silver, quartz, etc. exquisite colors and forms, amazing structure. bought me a bunch of stones- could not help but fall for the hype.
the kitschy statue in the atrium of the museum.. the world is mapped on the roof
puran polis and whiskey for lunch.. so we left immediately after – 5 of us and drove though the old town again before ending up at a movie theater, a marathified fame with sabudana wada instead of chicken sandwiches. ‘mangal pandey- the rising’ is a crime. it is so awful that it deserves a separate post.
the guests of honour.. madhavi mami, meghana, ashish, hemant mama, anand
mom as the madam of ceremonies
the spoken word skit- with aaji leaning to listen
back at the party place, amods house the real event had begun, naturally with some more whiskey and vodka. women of the family put on a great show. the spoken skit that sunila maushi, viju maushi and maushi put on was a blast and then, as usual, everyone performed, except the kids who sat on the side and watched. i did a bit of dancing with amod, and was pretty much aghast at his bawdiness.
the khardi house
on the way back, the entourage stopped off at hemant mama’s khardi plot where a small shack has been built. the site is spectacular in the rains, green with a stream flowing through. naturally, i got allergic to something in the air and with eyes water and sneezing left for mumbai as soon as the booze got out of the cars.