After the camp and field work was over, I have to come back to Head Quarters in Baroda. I started searching for an accommodation in Baroda. I normally like to live in central place of the town where most of the things are easily accessible , so my main effort of search was around Khanderao market, Sur Sagar, Palace Road, Siddhanath Road area. There were many new colonies and lot of apartments were vacant. I roamed around whole day but all in vain. My idea was that Indians are discriminated In UK but I found that Baroda was even more difficult place to rent an accommodation. .The main reason was that I was from North India and the people did not trust me not to be non-vegetarian. I tried to convince them that I am a strict vegetarian but they wont accept it, saying that in North , even Brahamins are non-vegetarian. Tired of whole day this search exercise, exhausted I was going back to camp. On the way, I saw a name plate on the Gate of a house with ” SHAH ” as the last name , it reminded me the hospitality and cooperative spirit of shah families during my stay in Anjar, Kutch , I stopped at the gate, knocked the door. Gentleman came out asked me ” KEM CHHE ” , introduced myself as Gupta , a Banya Bhai Chhe; Without any further question, taken into the house with good faith. He introduced me to his family as Gupta Banya Bhai. As expected normal hospitality with tea and snacks started, asked my welfare then I explained my problem of the day of searching the house in vain and with disappoints. Mr Shah immediately told me ” Banda nathi” worry not by tomorrow , I will get settled a place for you; Leave your address , I will inform you, just relax “. All my tiredness vanished, I was relaxed. I wanted to pay him money for the rent advance which he refused saying that nothing to worry about it.
I got the information just after two days that every thing has been settled in Patel Colony near Krishna Talkies/ Khanderao market and near to them. To my surprise, it was a better accommodation with cheaper rent and best of the location for my choice. When , I reached Baroda, my Landlord , Mr Mistri and his family warned me that we will not only cook non-vegetarian food but will not be bringing it to the house from the market. If found breaking this promise, they will throw me out of the house. They have given me the house only on the assurance of Mr. Shah- a respected person of the locality. Once, I started living in the house which was a portion of their big house, they watched me and when satisfied, they became very friendly, courteous and hospitable . I enjoyed my stay with them and in that place.and In Baroda.
After some time, I got the same environment as of Anjar. Most of the Shah families from nearby area visited us , introduced themselves , invited us to their house. We continued enjoying in their group with the same spirit of community; dinners, parties, picnics etc. Among them was also the Registrar of Sayajirao Gaekwad University of Baroda , Mr Shah who insisted my wife to seek admission in one of the prestigious course of the University though the admissions were closed but he will find a place for her.
Great experience of living in a decent , clean and very friendly town of Gujarat.