Day 3: Amritsar

August 25, 2012

I woke up at around 8:00, washed myself and went down for breakfast. Mrs. Bali had made yummy Aloo Parathas. I stuffed myself and then headed out to the Golden Temple. It was raining, and I got into a covered cycle rickshaw. Though I was covered, the guy was getting drenched, and rode through small by-lanes for about 3 kms, and we finally reached. He charged 40 bucks, but I so felt like giving him more. It stopped raining by the time I reached the temple. I bought a scarf to cover my head for 10 bucks (It’s compulsory for men and woman to cover their heads while in the temple), put my shoes in the counter, and walked into the temple. It was a beautiful sight. The temple is in the center of a water pool, and there’s an entrance on one side. I sat inside the temple for about an hour, got out, had the yummy prasad, and then headed off towards Jallianwala Bagh, which is right text to the temple. The sun was up by then, it got unbelievably hot. There’s nothing much to see at Jallianwala Bagh but for the bullet shots on the walls, and the well people jumped into to save themselves. I could help the tears in my eyes. There is a small museum, and an A/V room where they show the film on the massacre. Saw the film, cursed the British and got out.

They were having a blood donation camp in the garden outside, and I decided to donate. They took a liter of blood, gave me Frooti and biscuits. For some reason, my blood didn’t clot, and kept oozing out from the bandage. That created quite a scare for it was still the third day of my trip. They put more bandages on it, and it kinda stopped. I headed back to the temple with my hand folded, for the Langar (every Gurudwara serves food to people all day for free, irrespective of your caste, creed or sex). I am not used to squatting on the floor, but somehow managed to. They served dal, roti, and sweet. I heard a lot about the Langer being awesome, so my expectations were pretty high, and sadly, I was disappointed. Nevertheless, it was decent food. I had booked a taxi at the prepaid taxi counter just outside the temple to go to the Wagah border earlier in the day, which was supposed to leave at 3:30 PM. It was still 2:00, so I sat in the temple premises to while away time. The blood finally clotted by now, and I was relieved.

I got out to take the taxi at 3:30 PM, and went to the taxi stand. The prepaid tax guy, who charged Rs. 120/- for the trip put me into a local taxi guy who charged Rs. 100/-. And moreover, the taxi was packed with 11 people, so my legs pretty much were dead by the time I reached Wagah. He dropped us of near the border, and we had to walk about a kilometer to the stands. We reached at around 5:00, and the place was already full by then. After struggling for about an hour, I somehow manged to reach the top stand. The ceremony started around, and lasted for 20 minutes. Honestly, I was very disappointed with the whole thing. The whole entire show looked like school children showing their might and power in front of each other. To make it worse, people on the Indian side would scream “Hindustan Zindabad” (hail India), and the crowd on other side would scream “Pakistan Zindabad” (hail Pakistan). And then there will be atleast 1 loser on both sides who would scream “Hindustan/Pakistan Murdabad” (death to India/Pakistan). I couldn’t believe that these were the same guys with whom we together fought for independence 65 years ago. If it for me, I would have screamed “Politicians Murdabad” (death to politicians), for they not only torn down my country into two parts, but created an unnecessary rift between us. According to me, the Wagah Border ceremony is a sad moment, for me, and for both the countries.

It was 9:00 PM by the time we reached Golden Temple. I went back in once again, to see the temple shine in moon light. I wanted to have dinner outside, but Mrs. Bali said she would arrange dinner. So I headed home, but on the way, had an Amritsari Kulfi. Mrs. Bali had made Aloo Gobi, Kadhi and Jeera Rice for dinner. The mal wasn’t as great as the previous night, but yummy nevertheless. Me and Mr. Bali had a long conversation before he dropped me off at the station for my Jammu at midnight.

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