Shower or not, I needed breakfast and that in Amritsar had to be kulche. I had tried Amritsari Kulche in Delhi and never quite figured out what the big deal was about till, sitting in Amritsar, not even a kilometre away from the Golden Temple, I broke that hot kulchaa covered in melting butter with my fingers and put it in my mouth. I don't quite remember what happened after that but I think my taste buds stood up in my mouth and started whirling like dervishes. Nothing else can quite explain what good food can really do to you. Funnily, lassi, which I usually don't like much, also tasted heavenly in Amritsar.
I sat by the sarovar at Golden Temple for three hours. Doing nothing. And for those three hours, I didn't think of moving forward or about what lay behind. I didn't think philosophy or ask existential questions. I didn't pray or ask for favours. I didn't even feel religious or spiritual in anyway. But there was peace. By that I don't mean silence. Of course not. There were little kids running around, people clicking photographs, bathing, the gurbaani and amidst all this chaos, there was this quiet. This calm, the very thought of which makes me want to go back. And also the halwaa, yes.
That aside, I just want to know the city a little better. Take a walk through its alleys. Get to know the strays. Sit at a road-side stall with a cup of tea and watch a city, which is still stuck in a different age, walk by the tangas, the people who like me aren't in a hurry to get anywhere and their sweet-sounding language.
I had been very excited about our visit to Wagah – it being the Indo-Pakistan border. It turned out to be a damp squib with overt displays of nationalism by the visitors and general sloganeering to make Modi the next prime minister.
Ever since I have been back, I have been wondering what I miss most about that city – the one that I knew just for a day but the one that made me feel like it had known me all along. Was it the scrumptious food? Or those three hours of nothingness by the sarovar? Or was it was that humbling experience of eating at the langar? Or perhaps it is something that runs deeper than all that...And a strange thought crosses my mind – Had my grandparents lived in Lahore and not in Dhaka, this would have been my city.
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