Jodhpur: Ancient City, New Experiences

Jodhpur is an old city, going back to 1459. The magnificent Mehrangarh Fort, the slightly anachronistic Umaid Bhawan Palace, bazaars, the camels that still stride the streets, the food…an experience for all the senses.

One danger with going back to re-visit old haunts is that the present almost never lives up to past memories.

But as far as Jodhpur is concerned, I will not complain on this count! We’ve been going back every few years, and it just gets more interesting!

fort 4This year, the highlight of our trip was the Mehrangarh Fort. We go there every visit, but this year new areas seem to have been opened up. Shaded gardens, cobbled paths, open spaces from which to view the city–many of which I do not recall from dozens of visits. fort 2And the whole, immaculately maintained.

ziplineAnd the zipline running from the Fort! This has been in operation for about a year now, it seems. It has six segments, some offering dramatic views of the blue city; others of the ramparts of the fort; and yet others of the Padamsar lake. And most important, it looks safe and well-maintained, and the people running it come across as professional and competent.

I must not forget however the highlight of our trip. We went to catch a movie at the mall with our friends. And there, waiting with us was a lovely Rajput couple, with their little 6 month old son. He was bundled up in a green velvet teddy-bear like costume. After the usual cooing around the smiling baby, we asked what his name was. It was Rudra Pratap Singh! Wow! What a name for a gurgling little fellow dressed in green velvet! Will it put pressure on him? Or will he just grow into it? Who knows?

–Meena

PS: I did not zipline, scaredy me! Raghu did.

World Cancer Day: February 4

wcd3Scientists in Israel say they will find the definitive cure to cancer within the year. Who would not like to believe this? Who is there today who has not lost someone to cancer– a family member, a friend, a colleague?

Even as these reports hit the news, there were others saying this was all bunkum.

Well, I do not know enough about the matter. Reason tells me that it is unlikely that a panacea is so close. But my heart would like to believe it.

I have lost my brother to cancer. And the MMs lost a dear, dear friend in her thirties to the Dreaded C. These losses have left indelible imprints, and maybe changed us as people.

But equally have the incredible stories of survivors: young nieces who survived and have made a full lives for themselves; a sister in law so gutsy, I even forget what she has gone through; friends like Anita (who did two guest pieces for the blog last year), who have overcome; an amazing and brave lady I knew in Italy, who not just survived cancer, but started an NGO (called Attive Come Prima) which has helped generations of breast cancer survivors to cope.

It is in this context that Feb 4, World Cancer Day is important. World Cancer Day is an initiative of the Union for International Cancer Control to bring focus on the disease and come together to fight it. The day is marked by events across many parts of the world.

It’s a day to take a pause and see what we can do. Know young people who may be vulnerable to taking up smoking? As a parent, teacher, mentor, friend, do what you can to stop them. Know a family battling the C? Be there for them—physically, emotionally, every which way. Know about a good organization working on the issue? Donate generously.

‘9.6 million people die from cancer every year – this number is predicted to almost double by 2030. At least one third of common cancers are preventable. Cancer is the second-leading cause of death worldwide. 70% of cancer deaths occur in low-to-middle income countries.’ Union for International Cancer Control.

–Meena