I have been to many states of India, but Gujarat, well never got a chance. This was my first time so was really excited.
The state has beautiful roads largely, though the road side eateries – or highway hotels, well they are another thing all together. Not only are they damn expensive but the portion of food that you get, makes you feel cheated.
I mean you get these teeny weenie chapattis or whatever kind of bread you may order and even vegetable curries and dal are much less in quantity. Yet interestingly enough, I came across many overweight people in Gujarat, and that got me thinking, is this limited portions thing a new strategy in Gujarat to guarantee that the people loose some weight?
Loll.. can’t say but it was a funny experience to eat in Gujarat.
I mean we tried a couple of places, and mind you good places. One place I actually ordered Schezwan noodles, man I had to go hungry that time…it was so spicy!! Anyways the thing I did like about the food there was the milk products like curd. For some reason, Maharashtra never has a good quality of curd..maybe they use skim milk (or milawat wala milk) only everywhere. So it was in Gujarat, that after ages I had nice good curd.
We also went to this heritage hotel, that served Gujarati Thali, it was a beautiful place, real ethnic kind of look with even the waiters dressed in traditional dresses, but unfortunately our appetites were a bit on the low side that day and we decided to forego the thali…maybe next time.
Anyways, coming to the journey, National Expressway 1 is definitely a piece of beauty, its an elevated, smooth road and runs across green village land, and of course its long, so you just get a thrill by going ahead on a beautiful road with no bumps and traffic snarls, and watching quiet village pastures take different shades of day or night depending on what time you cross the expressway.
I happened to cross it both in daytime and at dusk, where it turned from dusk to night, and the sounds of the serene night calm engulfed me and filled me with a sense of awe and I felt that the night should never end and I keep moving on the road.
Another road I came across was a long stretch near a place called Chiloda I believe. The road was smooth and shaded by trees on both sides. The only drawback of this long stretch was the lack of streetlights. It passed through villages so its understandable that there will be no streetlights, but that made night time driving a bit difficult.
Another major factor that makes night time drives difficult these days, is that a huge majority of vehicle owners don’t use dipper at night, and the bright headlight, just flashes at your face and makes you blind. Cyclists also pose a problem as a lot of them don’t follow the basic rule of having a reflector on their cycles.
This particular stretch of road was however a perfect road for the day, shaded by green trees on both sides, it was just perfect. Reminded me of highways in Maharashtra few years back, which used to be surrounded by Tamarind and Banyan trees…with their ample shade they used to create an ideal 'driving' atmosphere. Unfortunately, not many such roads are left in Maharashtra anymore.. road widening activities never took care of the environmental aspects.
Traffic and population won over the beauty and tranquility of highways shaded by the huge banyans and playful tamarind trees.