Gandhiji and my grandfather

Will and Kristi went to the Calico textile museum this morning while I went to breakfast at Shaileshbhai’s place. The conversation ranged from old family business to our family ties with Mahatma Gandhi. Apparently, there is a copy of a letter that Gandhiji wrote to my grandfather asking him to contribute to the cause of Indian independence. In the letter, Gandhiji expresses his authority given to him by Sheth Mangaldas (my grandfather’s older brother). There is also a letter that Gandhiji wrote to my father’s eldest brother expressing condolences when my grandfather passed away in 1948.
The Calico museum is managed by the Sarabhai family of Ahmedabad in an area called Shahibaug (literally meaning the royal garden). The Sarabhai family has a rich history in Ahmedabad having contributed not only to the economy but also various cultural affairs. In the 1920s and 1930s, Ambalal Sarabhai had close ties with Mahatma Gandhi in the running of the Gandhi Ashram.
Lunch was at Amiben’s place where we had traditional Gujarati food with green beans, okra, mangoes, lentils, papad and rotis. The highlight of the meal was “makai no chevdo” a pureed corn dish made Guarati style.
In the afternoon, we went to the Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Muesum where we saw some thousand-year-old stone carvings and some miniature paintings from the pre-mogul and mogul eras.
Dinner was pani-puri at my place where Niyati and PK joined us. Kristi and I went out to see Niyati’s family after dinner. It was nice to sit in the same drawing room that I have spent many-an-evening when I was in my late teens. There was soft jazz playing in the background with a nice mixture of Indian and Western décor. The room looked EXACTLY the same as it did 30 years ago.
Ahmedabad has changed and not for the better. It is home but doesn’t have the warm homey feel. The roads are congested, the landmarks have changed or are hidden, and the culture is driven by economics. Fortunately, through this all, the social fabric and the closeness within families and friends thrives. Someday, I would love to return and live in Ahmedabad but the nostalgia and charm of small-time-Ahmedabad is lost forever.

Will and Kristi’s favorite Havmor ice cream
Picking up more ice cream at Havmor
I’m not sure if anyone keeps stats on ice cream consumption, but it sure feels like Ahmedabad has a particularly high concentration of ice cream places and consumption. In the center of it all is a brand called Havmor. I have loved it since I was a kid, and it is even better now! Will and Kristi have fallen in love with the chocolate-cinnamon flavor (also known as Huber & Holly). Since we arrived in Ahmedabad, sales figures of this particular brand have sky-rocketed! 

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