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17 December 2007

TRAVEL TALES : Sunday in the park with Gujus

VADODARA HAS some of the widest tree-lined streets that I have seen in India. Still called by its old name—Baroda—the city, with its universities and museums, is dubbed the cultural capital of the state of Gujarat (north of Maharashtra).

I was here on a one-day business travel, and with a late Sunday afternoon to spare, I thought I should visit the lush, green Sayaji Barg as recommended strongly by my driver. The place is a sprawling park housing a zoo, a planetarium, an old toy train, and the imposing Baroda Museum and Picture Gallery. I had a glimpse of how lazy a Sunday afternoon could get at this otherwise bustling industrial city: Gujarati families gathered together for picnics, couples were napping on the grass, young adults played tag. Tag! this is the first time in a very long time that I saw adults playing tag.

The sights that afternoon weren't exactly rural, but they seemed taken from a 1970s movie scene. Charming.


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