It was a Sunday. I had made up my mind to find Anshuman’s dawa dukaan in Gwalior and soon we where there. I still remember the first few days of my first sem in IIT when I had some pait-ka-problem and Anshuman was the only friend around. So I told him about it and he produced some magical pills which soon cured me. It was then that I came to know that his dad owned a medical shop back in Gwalior. Finally I was there – Agrawal Medial Stores – more than five years after having heard about it first. Sitting on the bike in front of the close shutters of the shop, posing for Tiwari’s camera, I felt so close to the Anshuman that he was when we were best friends.
Tiwari and I then got about ten meters of solid rope so that our bags could be fixed on the bike. It was a nice sunny Sunday and before leaving Gwalior, the fort had to be seen from inside. Viggu and Paining (both from IIT) joined us on Anshuman’s bike. The place was very fort-like and picturesque and I will let the pictures do all the talking.
We left Gwalior in early evening and reached Jhansi, just 100 kms way – after sunset. The toilet in the 350 bucks ka double bed-room had a bath tub. I was convinced that people who stay in 350 bucks for a double bed kind of hotels, not all of them, but at least some of them, don’t really use it the way it is supposed to be used and might have peed and shagged and all that in the bath-tubs. So basically, we didn’t use the bath-tub. After food, we started our search for a statue of Rani ki Jhansi. We found one. I was about to narrate the Jhansi ki Rani poem in front of the statue and Tiwari was about to record it all on video when I realized that the fucking statue was of Rani Ahilyabai – whoever she was. So this bloody town was full of statues of such sari clad women riding horses and carrying swords. Where could be found Jhansi ki Rani?
I came up with a hypothesis that there must be a Rani ki Jhansi Square somewhere in the city – so we annoyed a random stranger with directions for that square. Fucker gave up and we realized that there was no such square. Then, kind of in an embarrassed way, we asked him if he could tell us where we could find a statue of Rani ki Jhansi. Fucker knew. He directed us to a garden where we went to. The goddamn garden was closed. It was like 10 in the night and we were about to leave when another random stranger showed us a hidden entry to the garden, right next to the big locked gates. We went in. We didn’t find any statue. We ran into two annoyed cops sitting on a bench and holding rifles instead. Before they could say anything, I asked them if they knew where the statue was in the garden. The one who had the more cruel face said yes, but asked us in turn – what our plan with the statue at 10 in the night was? Tiwari flashed his white teeth in the dark and made our intentions of photography clear. I guess the dude in khaki wasn’t impressed. He shoved us out and asked us to come in the morning when the park would open. They had guns and we only had cameras. So we decided not to start a war. We left. In the morning, we wanted to reach Khajuraho as soon as possible. So we never went back to the garden. Sorry Jhansi ki Rani – you know we tried!