After a quick checkin, I was ready to explore the city within the luxury of the few hours I had in transit. I had enough time to nap in the 9 hr train journey from Porbandar to Ahmedabad and was raring to make the most of the short halt.
Within the state of Gujarat, Ahmedabad is the biggest city and with a long history. I was in the old part of the city ,which lies on the east side of the Sabarmati River and once was surrounded by a 10km-long wall, of which little now remains except 15 formidable gates standing as forlorn islands amid swirling, cacophonous traffic.
The Lal Darwaza gate seemed abuzz with people shopping, cars and two wheelers honking and jostling for space amongst humans and animals.
I was looking for New Lucky restaurant and a local directed me to this graveyard next to a mosque.
There were several people having their meals, sipping tea on tables set next to coffins enclosed with iron grills. After all this was built over a cemetery some 60 yrs back.
I got to sit next to a couple of elderly men who were busy chatting and not in the least bothered about the coffin lying next to them, seems they are used to having spiritual tea.
The server got the tea and bun maska fast but I was in no hurry.
The people inside outnumbered the dozen graves by a huge margin and I felt comforted by this. When I touched the cup, it was almost cold.
Was it because of the time the cup was left unattended or some other thing at play?
Chatting with the fellow mates on my table got me some answers to my grave question of when did this all begin?
This was a burial site of a Sufi saint and followers in the 16th century and the tea stall started life in the 50’s adjacent to the graveyard. As business flourished the owner did not mind the company of the dead and setup the business right over it.
Now the dead do not seem to mind the company of the living!