Shaame Awadh ....

….is just not the same this time round. Oh no I’m not going to start off on how Lucknow used to be this wonderful place and how it has changed for the worse. I’m really not one of those who leave their hometown only to come back periodically to criticize it.. uff the heat.. uff the crowd.. uff the narrow roads.. uff no roadsense at all.

No no.. that’s not me. However this time round the famous Awadh evenings bear a jaundiced look. Lucknow is crazily dusty. The entire city seems to have been dug up for laying some huge sewer lines. Mammoth pits follow you everywhere, flanked by yellow mountains of mud. The hot May breeze blows the mud into your hair, in your mouth and everywhere else it can possibly get to. One half of the roads has been left for the commuters. Give over some more space to vehicle parking and you’re left with a veritable strip.

'Sawadhan' that's the catch word
Didn't I say yellow was the predominant colour?

That's right on the road

Scary, isn't it?

The two-wheelers climb onto pavements wherever they can, leaving the pedestrians to manage the best they can. A ride on cycle rickshaws, which, by the way, are a huge favourite with the kids, can be safely classified as adventure tourism. The two wheels are never on level ground and you’re left clutching the rickshaw for dear life. If the kids are with you and you have some shopping to hold onto as well remember to carry a few extra pair of hands.

The kids are of course kicked beyond happiness. The ups and downs thrill them no end drawing shrieks of delight at every bump. I’ve had to contend with enough curious/annoyed looks from passers-by who, distracted by the kids’ glee, find themselves stumbling.

In any case our forays outside the house have been severely limited because the kids have decided to fall ill by turns. It seems like they’ve taken it upon themselves to keep me in character, making sure I don’t forget for a moment that I’m an OM. No heading out to those gorgeous shops piled with Lakhnawis, no handing over the kids to the myriad nanis and dadis, no being the dutiful daughter/DIL. They cling to me like glue during the day and keep me awake at night. Sigh!

The good news is that finally now they’re on the mend and I’m ready to step out and step out big. We're planning this rather ambitious four-day visit to Nainital with an entourage of over 15 uncles and cousins. Keeping fingers crossed.

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