A train from Delhi to Amritsar on a wintry February morning during which we plan our trip in Amritsar : The plan eventually revolved around what we will eat in each of the two days we will stay there : during each course and which restaurant. After we did the daywise segregation , we thought we would be a little scientific and check the calorie consumption each day we would intake.
By the time breakfast on the first morning ended , we laughed at our assumptions and tore off the sheet of paper where we thought we would try to limit our calories.
It might seem a little surprising why I am starting to describe a trip to Amritsar in this way . But once you are here you realize why I am saying this. A city that loves its food and offers you the chance to dive into the depths of gastronomic orgasm.
Somewhere between our burps we realized we needed to traverse the city and the rich history it holds in modern Indian history. A trip to the Jallianwala Bagh made us understand the sacrifices our ancestors made for us to understand the value of freedom. Colonel Reginald Edward Harry Dyer ordered to shoot the civilians who had assembled for Baisakhi to ring in the Punjabi New Year. Little did they know they would end up being martyrs of one of the bloodiest human tragedies of the twentieth century. Rabindranath Tagore gave up his knighthood in protest. Students of history would know it better , but supposedly quite a few historians consider the Jallianwala Bagh massacre a tipping point towards the end of British rule in India.
The Golden Temple has to be one of the most spiritual places I ever visited. The feeling of purity and faith emanates from every corner of the temple. And how do I describe the experience of a langar at the Golden Temple. Go there for yourself and experience the feeling. Simple food tastes as if it literally has been served from God’s own kitchen.
The Khalsa College for Women in my opinion has to be one of India’s architectural marvels and perhaps the most beautiful institution in the country . A rickshaw ride through the city allows you to experience Punjab in a way we see in movies. The hospitality of the people there in general is at a different level.
The beating of the retreat ceremony at the Wagah border regains our patriotic fervor as we realize the battles we have had with them since 1947, be it with the guns or with a hockey stick or on the cricket field. Somewhere when we see people from both sides at the border in a celebratory mood, it also makes us ponder they too were a part of us only till a few years back . However partition had its own effect and jingoism now manifests its own power.
Somewhere in between we quench our thirst with a lassi. For the first time in my life, I could not finish a glass of lassi.
A Patiala peg awaited in the evening. By the time the train reached New Delhi station two days later, I realized the significance of the moment where we tore off the sheet where we thought we would control the calories by items. And we smiled.