This Sunday a couple of snapshots from last night and this morning from my varied encounters in connection with the biography of Ahmadabad that I am in the midst of researching.
Snoop Dogg was born almost exactly a year after Jimi Hendrix died. Also, Snoop Dogg is not Jimi Hendrix. They are actually two different men.
But why would such facts matter to a teenage boy wearing a T-shirt with Hendrix’s face printed in the front and his name inscribed name at the back? Out of curiosity I asked the teenage boy if he knew who it was on his T-shirt. He said with certitude that is peculiar to that age, “It is Snoop Dogg.”
Who told you that, I asked encouraged by his response. The boy unconsciously touched the diamond stud on his left ear and said, “My mom told me that.” For the sake of accuracy I must mention that our conversation happened in Gujarati at a multiplex in Gandhinagar, the staid capital of Gujarat, last night.
A Jimi Hendrix T-shirt worn by a Gujarati teenage boy who thinks the man is Snoop Dogg because his mother said so. If there is anything wrong with this picture I am not getting it.
This morning I went to the Gujri Bazaar on the banks of the Sabarmati river.It is the local version of the flea market. I was bludgeoned by a debilitating stench of cow dung mixed with human excrement, deep fried by the overnight rain and simmering in early morning humidity. I could tell strong traces of methane but I am sure there were other gases as well. The sellers at the Gujri Bazaar should have no problem surviving on the Mars, considering the amount of their daily methane intake.
Once past the odors I chanced upon a rare four-volume collection of Govardhanram Tripathi’s Gujarati classic “Saraswatichandra.” A couple of onlookers who were eying the same set told me with great pride, “Saheb, tame favi gaya. (Sir, you hit a jackpot). There is always a volume missing from such sets. You got all four,” said one of them. I paid Rs 150 for the set originally priced Rs 8 in 1958.
In the pantheon of Gujarati literary giants Tripathi is right there at the top, although I am not too sure if his barely hidden orthodoxy will have many takers now. I was taught Saraswatichandra in school. My essay on it was adjudged to be the best in the class. I have just begun reading the novel after 35 years. Occasionally I will keep you posted.