It is a pity that I never took advantage of being born in one of the most historical cities of India. My family and I moved to Ahmedabad so soon after my birth that Jaipur only became “ where my grandparents live”.
Despite visiting Jaipur every year to spend Diwali with the family, I was never motivated to step out of our large, old home. I vaguely remember running up and down the stairs, gardening with my grandfather and eating like a horse. But that is all that Jaipur meant to me – 7 days during which my grandparents get to compensate for not seeing my all year, by recklessly spoiling me. I quite enjoyed it. Which is probably why I closed my eyes to everything that the city had to offer.
Its funny really, how much I’ve always loved Rajasthan for Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Udaipur but never once explored the city I belong to and visit every single year.
This summer, I simply couldn’t wait till Diwali to see my grandparents. I was ready to get fatter before that. So I flew down to them and this time without my parents. I had truly missed my grandparents and needed a change from being home alone with my dog for most of summer (thank you workaholic parents). But this time in Jaipur, I was simply tired of being the child that sits at home all day, munching on everything in the kitchen, listening to dim and distant stories to a point where I showered after 5pm. Basically, I was curious to know why Jaipur was as cool as the world said it was. And boy, was it cool.
Lucky me, a family friend residing in the city took up the responsibility of showing me around and enlightening my ignorant soul about my very hometown.
We toured the usual and the obvious. Hawa Mahal, Amber Fort, Jal Mahal, Albert Hall but the rest of the city wasn’t any less of a sight. The gates surrounding the inner city were so elegant yet displayed toughness. The roads are definitely better than the ones in Ahmedabad. And while the traffic in big cities is usually pretty bad, Jaipur’s seemed quite bearable. The city has a strong effulgence of history. I felt royal just taking it all in from the car window. The monuments were impeccable. Every corner was a story, every ceiling was a song. Amber fort’s enormity came over me. As it towered over the city, I took in the breathtaking view and called myself an idiot for not going there before. The huge gardens in the city provide an easy escape from city life. It makes you feel like there is actually space left in the world.
Being one for bargaining and enjoying anything that barely hurts my wallet, Bapu bazaar was the place for me. Markets in Ahmedabad are so far from where I live, it would take a decade to simply go to the old city and another decade to find parking. Bottom line: my family doesn’t care for it. But Bapu bazaar was perfectly suitable for my love for anything cheap and my lack of adjustment when it comes to traveling far in the city. I have never seen so many colors all at once. I loved each second of it. Each hue was different and all the gorgeous intricate designs made me want to abandon my tees and wear Indian outfits. That was a big statement. I love my T-shirts.
I did buy a lot of clothes though.
Jaipur is nothing short of a magical confluence between the strength of its historical definition and the contemporary world we choose to live in now. Its well-preserved beauty is perfectly balanced by our present day needs of a fast paced metropolitan city. The city seems to be captivated by its glorious past while simultaneously progressing towards success. I feel happy to call it my home and disappointed for not valuing it all these years. I want to go back there more often than I do now. I don’t even mind only going for a couple of days to shop. Believe me, it is worth it.
Until next time, you beauty.