22 October, 2020

A Riot Of Impressions

A Riot Of Impressions
You must be out of your mind, going to Aligarh with the communal tension there." Anxious friends had been at it ever since I got an invitation from the Aligarh Muslim Women’s College to be their chief guest on annual day. And it was quite true: the papers had been full of a bizarre confrontation between two communities. It all started at a graveyard and cremation ground located next to each other with members of a community trying to prevent the funeral of the other. However, since the university had assured me the curfew had been relaxed and there was no tension on the campus, I decided to take the trip by Shatabdi—which isn’t as easy as it sounds. For some strange reason, taxis have to halt a half-kilometre away from the main platform at the Ajmeri Gate end of New Delhi railway station, not to mention the porter who demanded an astronomical sum to carry a small suitcase. Following him while also negotiating the filthy, slippery platform did nothing to lift my spirits. The Shatabdi itself was a joy with its German-made carriages and many Lucknow regulars. The huge picture...


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