Don’t let it go viral

Snap a photo

in the sorting office:

make sure it don’t go viral

Baroda 1

While we were visiting the city of BARODA (Vadodara):

“…we visited the main railway station because it has a post office. Visiting the station is like visiting an art gallery. The façade and staircases of the large relatively modern station (1954) are decorated with colourful modern paintings and bas-reliefs, including a trompe l’oeil fresco depicting a steam engine with a large ‘cowcatcher’ emerging from a tunnel. There are also several interesting sculptures on the raised pavement in front of the station entrances. One of them, which I liked most, shows a model train on railway tracks. The tracks with the carriages on them have been bent into a spiral with the old-fashioned engine in the centre of the spiral.


We drank tea in a café located along one of the station’s long platforms. Platforms in many Indian stations are lengthy to accommodate the great number of carriages in long-distance express trains. Shorter local trains appear dwarfed by these platforms. We entered the post office through a door on the platform, which was partially blocked by bags of mail and parcels. This door was, we realised later, for the use of postal personnel. We found ourselves in a sorting office. Ladies dressed in colourful salwar kameez with dupattas draped over their shoulders were manually sorting mail, placing it into small square wooden pigeon-holes labelled with the names of towns all over India.

Baroda 2a

We were directed to the customers’ desk. We wanted to send a birthday card to our daughter in London and were concerned that it would arrive in time. When we asked the assistant serving us how long the card would take to reach London, she said it would be a week or two, and then added ominously: “…if it reaches at all.”

Baroda 3

When we asked her whether I could take a picture of the postal sorters working, she referred us to her supervisor, who said: “Go ahead and take the picture, but make sure that it does not go viral




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A poet of Gujarat

Another excerpt from “Travels through Gujarat, Daman, and Diu“, soon to be published by Adam Yamey:



We went from the station to a busy road that borders the eastern edge of an almost circular lake named in honour of Narsinh Mehta (1414-81). He was a poet of Gujarat, who is revered like a saint. Born in Talaja (near Bhavnagar), he moved to Junagadh, where he lived until just before he died (probably in the town of Mangrol). We had come here to reserve coach seats at the agency that specialised in journeys to our next destination. We had tiny cups of tea nearby, before visiting a remarkable building…

Nar 2

… Without being asked, our driver took us to another of Junagadh’s landmarks, the Narsinh Mehta Choro. This place is built on the site where, during the 15th century, the poet/saint Narsinh Mehta used to conduct bhajan singing, meetings, and religious discourses. The compound, entered from the street via an archway, contains a small Hindu temple, another religious shrine, and a museum. The latter illustrates Mehta’s life with a series of panels. Most of them have text in Gujarati.

Nar 1

Here is a small sample of Mehta’s poetry, translated by Sachin Ketkar, copied from his website:


In this entire universe, you alone exist, Shri Hari,

Yet, in infinite forms you seem to be!

You are the divine in the human flesh,

The fire you become among the elements,

In the void, you become the Word, which the Vedas laud!

In this entire universe, you alone exist, Shri Hari,

Yet, in infinite forms you seem to be!


O Sustainer of the Earth! You are the wind!

You are the water and you are the Earth!

You are also the outstretched tree blossoming in the sky!

In this entire universe, you alone exist, Shri Hari,

Yet, in infinite forms you seem to be!