Relations with Vadodara run back to 2013 when I visited the place for the first time in the timely hope of seeing a new city. Those were the days when the travel bug had just bitten me and every place I jumped in wooed me to the fullest. My tryst with Vadodara started at that time with the Laxmi Vilas Palace built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad and I was stunned by the beauty and the royalty that lay within the inner walls of the palace, I had a short hop at the Maharaja Sayajirao University, the campus carries with it the old charm of a university, some of the buildings have a dome like structure which give it a Mughal feel. Evenings and Walks is a best combination to explore any place or feel the positivity and the story that surrounds the surreal atmosphere at that so called ” prahar”. Both the places are designed to perfection. Laxmi Vilas Palace will make one feel like a princess or a prince since the interiors have been so well maintained. The lush green meadows that have been converted into the sport of the royalty – golf. Golf is a rare pastime here, and it is enjoyed to the brim by the who’s who of the city. Laxmi Vilas speaks volumes for the history of Vadodara. From the colonial times to the freedom struggle and till the time it got accepted into the state of India, this palace stands tall of the glory and pride that Vadodara can always boast of. Audio recordings inside the palace are a subtle way to keep the public engaged in the happenings of every nook and corner of the place. My evening ended that year in Vadodara with a glimpse of the Garba and I longed to be a part of the largest fest that enthralled the state of Gujarat not alone for one day but nine days whole. Going back to Mumbai that day was hard, but my comrade Shri bade me goodbye and promised me that I will have the fun that remained from the trip.
Lo and behold!, after two years again I came to the city but with a different motive in mind, to see my beloved. Our first date was on the same golf lawns which had mesmerized my senses and this time it was him who mesmerized me in the green lawns. This city holds a special place since I chose and decided to be with my soul mate forever. By and forth I kept on coming to Vadodara for many trips but as October arose the hope for that incomplete Garba still ran strong in my mind. As promised it came true. Being an integral part of the United Way Garba and of the pomp in this fest was one of a kind experience. Not alone but with so many friends, it was a celebration. We danced and danced like Indian Cinderellas, some with their princes and some with their comrades.
Dressed colourfully in all hues and shades one could find on earth, bird watching at its peak during this time, each and every girl proud of her beauty and curves, each boy trying to woo and showcase the best flirting skills in times, best dancers pumping their adrenaline hard with groovy yet sexy dance moves, energy and enthusiasm at its epitome, positivity and optimism surrounding the whole Alembic ground where the United Way garba was being held. Each one dressed at their bestest best, each one happy and gay as smiles shone with glee, each one waiting to groove to the holy music, each one wanting to release the fantastic energy within them and then refuel and gearing up for a second round again with more rigour and adrenaline pumping to the core. With heartbeats touching their record throbbing each time a ” sanedo” came into being, with legs hitting each others each time the ” peacock steps” gained full momentum. The photo sessions with pouts and waist show offs, with smiles and laughters, of cheers and shouts, of friends and memories. This could only happen in Vadodara. As this celebration ended a huge cry of hope went into air as everyone promised to come back with yet more renewed enthusiasm next year. This experience with my life partner was mind blowing, such thrill was never heard of without alcohol and we made it happen just with goooooood company and scintillating music.
Certain evenings were spent on the famous ” bridge” a short distance away from Vadodara, where the calm of the night took away all our tiredness and fatigue. We had a light smoke near the river and had a look at the grand galaxy of stars that kept a watch on us from the wide dark blue sky, with music in full volume and friends to company we sang at the top of our voices on our journey back and forth to the bridge, my best crazy dude Mahi, is a sensational driver after all. Waves outside the window panes as the car caught speed on the lonely village road was like feeling the air on my fingertips and how happy you could be at any moment. The next trip at Rasalpur on the silent banks of Mahi river was a sudden adventure. Getting lost in a weird village and coming back, the car giving sensations on the bumpy road, the slowed down speed and the setting sun made the view panoramic not only on the banks of the river but the whole longitudinal drive. Sharing Black Dog was EWWW!!, I hated the taste, nonetheless the guy gang enjoyed it, and then the chilly evening and the smoke again. Relaxation was just a definition that time, had we had bonfire that night, we would have just settled at that place and never come back until the wee hours of morning. Both the evenings spontaneously planned, but gave us the joy of a little kid. Isn’ t that what we search in today’s stressed times? As we left the garrulous Mahi river it stole my heart away as the reflection of purplish sky on the water made a perfect scenery that God drew on his canvass to show us. The funniest part was crossing the river to and fro, with the slippery and ticklish algae, it was so funny!!. The hues of blue, purple and orange merged together as the evening turned into a well half moon lit night and the maiden beauty of the moon made the air sensational and romantic.
During my days at the Indian Oil Township which was my temporary abode for five days, I met people and friends from different walks of life, some funny, some sarcastic, some proud while some frank. It was a tiny little India all together at one township. I played so many roles along the way, that of a kid, of a comrade, of a sister, of a bhabhi ( weird, but yes as you are about to get married people call you that and then aunty too!!), but let go, so much love and affection just from one part of the town, I love making new friends and this time it came to reality. Getting introduced as someone’s life partner was a new phase of life. :)
This short vacation ended with a scrumptious dinner at Gazebo, with cuisines from different parts of the world. Turned out to be a buffet arrangement with nice lights and serene ambience, barring the stupid reception music that played in the background. We gossiped, we shared and clicked memories, we pulled each other’s legs, my chubby friend Suri ate to his heart’s content and will never forget that, Ajay’s suprising expressions, making Rahul jealous, the good boy Mahi look, the ravishing Rashmi and the ever smiling Apurva, it was a get together even though we went for the first time, connections were made in heaven I guess.
I had the time of my life the five days I was here because I was happy and positive. All to thank just one person because he created and always creates moments.
Signing off for a new vacation story next time.