“That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.” Romeo and Juliet
So what’s in a name after all?
But for me, a name is an identity in itself. It symbolises and personifies a person.
I can’t imagine being called and addressed as anyone but Monisha …..when people change even an o to a, I don’t appreciate it even though I may not show. I am sure people would agree with me that a name isn’t just a proper noun used to address people; it’s the essence of an individual. So goes with places too. But today, names change with a drop of a hat.Though history is replete with examples of names of cities being changed –
Leningrad and so on.
But in the recent past,I have seen names of cities and roads changing at the whims and fancies of people, rather politicians. What is achieved by a name change,I fail to fathom. Of course when Victoria Terminus changed to Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus,it made sense. It was about the Indian pride! But every now and then ,when one is so accustomed calling place A as A, then it gets rechristened as B, it’s difficult for the common man.
Recently, #Faizabad renamed as #Ayodhya
But what about Ayodhya?
Demographically Ayodhya now becomes a big area. So no more twin cities…they become one..PURE LOVE!
Faizabad for me has some sweet memories. Twenty three years ago, when I got married, that was the place I went as a new bride.
It welcomed me with so much love and warmth that I can’t give the credit to Ayodhya..
Faizabad has given me such nice inlaws, that I can’t thank Lord Ram of Ayodhya for it.
Faizabad gave me a home I can count on or fall to when needed.
Don’t know why, but my self created impression of the city was not too great. I always imagined it to be more of a village with dusty roads where modernisation had not made an entry. This perception inturn became my aid and when I actually landed there by a State Transport Bus in 1995 from Lucknow, I could not believe that I was in Faizabad. My brother in law and me were together and when he woke me up from slumber(which wraps me the minute I sit in a train car or a bus),I was aghast to see a proper bus station like the one I had grown up seeing in Meerut. It was really hard for me to believe that the city I thought to be rural was not actually so.
The early morning view of the city was far above my expectations. Roads, markets, cars and a thriving civilization was not what I had expected and in my heart of hearts, I was happy to see all this.
Ours was a love marriage and the place my husband belonged to, didn’t matter as I would be living in metros and coastal areas after marriage. So how would ‘living in Faizabad’ be never mattered. It’s been more good and comfortable than I imagined, is an all together different story!
The small city has its own charm. Everything is at a stone’s throw distance.The cost of living is absolutely affordable. Dining out options are far and few between, so one is never in a dilemma!
The city has deep historical significance. It’s close proximity with Ayodhya lends it a religious connotation. During my very first visit to Faizabad, I visited all the holy temples in Ayodhya to seek the blessings of the Divine like a good bahu🙂. Going to Ayodhya was like going to another city as a tourist. Plans were made a day prior and everyone in the family looked forward to that Ayodhya trip. That pleasure would be history now!
I remember visiting Hanuman Garhi(temple of Lord Hanuman) and Janaki Mahal.
Had grown up watching Ramayana on TV, so it was riveting and spell bounding to go to Ayodhya and visit the various temples.One has to climb a lot of steps to reach Hanuman Garhi and at the same time save oneself from the prying monkeys ..the vaanar Sena of Lord Hanuman.
It is said that in Jaanki Mahal, Maa Janaki(Sita) is reverred in the Mahal and Lord Ram is treated as the Dhule Sarkar.
At the end of the day, a day trip to Ayodhya made one feel blessed.
Faizabad per say also boasts of some scenic spots. The Guptar ghat looks beautiful at all times of the day. I have enjoyed boat rides to the other side of the river Saryu savouring the sun rise,along with mouth watering snacks like hot pakoris and spicy chutneys. The evening spectacle is far from extraordinary. The illuminated ghat looks nothing less than a beautiful bride. Then Ram Ki Paidi mesmerises the tourists and just like Har ki Paidi in Haridwar which is a bathing ghat, this also is a flight of steps that leads the Ram devotees towards the bathing ghats to take a dip in Saryu river.
The #Company Garden has hosted me many times with all it’s warmth. Many a family picnics with packed food and entertaining games have been held on those lawns.
No visit to Faizabad has ever been complete without a visit to #Military Temple,located in the cantt area. It was always a pleasure to go there as it provided peace and serenity after the humdrum of the chaotic city life.
Despite it being a holy city full of temples and associated with Ram jnam bhoomi, there pervades the aroma of tasty fish cutlets and some lip smacking fish curries. I don’t remember devouring fish curry anywhere like here.
#Mahavir ki tikki is another delicacy which is to die for. Till I got married,I always thought that Meerut ki chaat is the ‘creme de la crème’…..but on tasting this mahavir ki tikki, I changed my opinion. These potato cutlets deep fried in oil and served with dollops of ginger and coriander chutney, are a run for one’s money. There have been times when we have reached late by a couple of minutes and those were gone. We soon learnt a lesson to place our orders in advance. That made us enjoy the dish to our heart’s content.
The winter season has #malai makhan to offer to its citizens. It’s pure cream attained by churning milk early morning before sunrise and one has to taste it to believe it. The zero figure fad goes for a toss in front of that delicacy offered in pattals.(indigenous Indian crockery)
Even the festivals have a Midas Touch to them. Diwali, of course is home coming of Lord Ram, so no better place than Faizabad to immerse in its fervour. Temples all over the place turn bride like with lights and decorations. Aroma of delicacies waft through every household and the teen patti card game is played among all age groups. Living rooms turn to casinos and much is lost and won in the land of Ram. Holi, the festival of colours is also played with great zest here. One can soak in the different colours of love, affection, mischief and pranks and savour God’s own drink bhaang in its purest form here.
I still remember that many a times when I had to tell people about my husband’s place, Faizabad was not complete in itself; Ram janam bhoomi or Ayodhya were to be added as a suffix for people to understand the place. Some advantage of a name change! Now the place needs no suffix. 🙂
Ayodhya has garnered a world class reputation today! But for me, I have so many wonderful memories of Faizabad as a city that it will take some time for me to associate those with Ayodhya. But then, as always it takes time to accept change.Doesn’t it?
Till I go to Faizabad on my next holiday ..oops! Ayodhya… Hope the new train time tables show us the proper name! Who knows may be Ayodhya Airport is in the pipeline for people like us and I am sure just as I had reached Faizabad in a State Transport Bus years back, I land at the Ayodhya Airport very soooon🙂
New Name! New city!
Nothing wrong in that I guess.