Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Lukhnow!

Have heard enough and more about the city.
Synonymous with culture in many ways,somehow never made it there.
So I jumped at the chance to have a glimpse of the city while changing trains.There is the Lukhnowi andaaz,the Oudhi culture,the cuisine,the chikan ,the nawabs...the anglo imprint....it's endless....,what one reads about.
The station saw me staring at plastic packets being used to transport tea....I asked the driver how this worked?it's apparently transferred to a cup before it is sipped...this was a novelty for me.The driver chuckled,my companion followed and I hollered,my antennae up...
Next was the chikan shop...with it's endless provisions...was served tea(courtesy noted)and was badgered left,right and centre by an over-enthusiastic shop-keeper who knew his job well.
The gate to Residency had a story to tell-we looked hard at the structure could almost imagine the era....1857...the structures....Cliff Richards,Englebert Humperdinck.....and the name Henry lawrence....did it ring a bell somewhere.
The old Luckhnow replete with the muslim architecture ....every other government building,hotel,marriage halls....passed off as a palace of the old by our taxi driver......where did the poor people live?
Do you want to go to the zoo?-the driver asked-it was a resounding No!
Lunch was Lukhnowi biryani at an eatery in lalbagh,just next to the mosque .Atlast,I had sampled the famous Lukhnowi biryani in Lukhnow!!
La martinniere for boys was our next stop.My brother-in-law had literally grown up in the campus some two and a half decade earlier....just wanted to see the place.
We were greeted with hordes and hordes of people playing golf in the link as well as on the road side...this was almost like cricket elsewhere..this was supposedly La-Mart's land which had been converted into the chief minister's residence near-by.
Getting into the la-mart's campus was another story altogether.The buildings are much like the most of old lukhnow,never repaired since construction I would think...ruins..falling apart...Two sentries though were posted at the gates.I thought I would get down to talking to them.Asked one of the securities ,how many years he had been there,he said eight.i asked him about the condition of the buildings and he said-memsahib,you should see the interiors of the the buildings...it's so grand...I took his word for it and we left!I wish I had a camerra-i could have captured it for my brother-in law.
The next stop was the Gomti-nagar.The garish town which gives you the feel of driving through Bangkok.We refused to get down but had a peep through the window of our taxi...to see what the hulla-bulla of Mayawati's statue drive was...
I got a conversation rolling with the driver to judge his political affiliation or rather to judge the mood on the street!His exact words were-'UP has become a Bihar!We don't know whether we can say that because even Bihar is showing some kind of progress in the current regime.All the development you see in the state is within this kilometre or two of Gomti nagar-this is it!The current regime is certainly not coming back to power.
Congress should come to power in the state but Rahul gandhi will not become the chief minister even if it does...it will be someone else....'he left the statement hanging in the air.
Some passing thoughts...as I drove through and out of Lukhnow..this is the capital of UP,a state which has produced some of the most notable personalities that decorate the annals of India's politics,art,culture.....name it.In a state ,which has no dearth of achievers,Mayawati,a dalit by birth,a lady to boot...if nothing else,she sure has a lot of guts....it hit me like it hadn't before!

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