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The real stars of the show were not here when this picture was taken on a slow afternoon. They are his uncle and father. This kind of shop is called a hatti. It is not possible to categorize everything he keeps. Maybe everything is the right word. There are things above him, beside him, behind him. And yes below him. That is the most dangerous bit. Below him he keeps various varieties of achaar, Mango, Mirchi, Nimbu.. He opens the lid only when there is no traffic around . When he does that a lethal aroma escapes and a few people invariably collapse. You got it and cars pile up. But that is not the complete story. In fact if you were just driving around looking at what Meerut looks like . You would see a shop with a big blank where the name should have been (there is a board there now ). So dark from the outside that you would not know what is inside. The real qualification to greatness you would miss.
Every Sunday they distribute free food for about 4 hours , 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. I think. No BPL ( below poverty line certificates ), no signatures and counter signatures . If you are humble enough to ask, you get free food. They have been doing it ever since they could make ends meet - from about 30 years ago. Maybe they should be on the advisory committee to the Government of India which let people die before they grudgingly took some useless steps to distribute rotting grain. And in case you are curious. The numbers asking for food are decreasing. There are no crowds now . A few years back you could see , maybe 30 to 40 people at anytime. Many who have never been here associate Meerut mainly with communal riots. But when it comes to generosity, it is seems the people of Meerut are at the top of the list. How does one know ? From the Sisters of Mercy - they have homes all over India including the Metro cities. Even on an absolute measure Meerut exceeds the figures of the others. It is so bad that they have to assign dates especially to people wanting to deliver food items.
No canvas of Meerut would be complete without a mention of this creature which is always in the background whenever anything meaningful is happening. School sports days, picking up army folks from the station, army picnics etc. etc. It materializes in places which have no visible means of approach. But that again is not all. Legend has it that there is photographic evidence of this being used in the building of the pyramids. If fact most of these still function because spare parts were found when they broke open Tutenkhamen's tomb. This is also a favorite with the gambling community. When it passes the gamblers they bet if it is going to stop within their visible area and open its bonnet. That really is unkind , because on every trip it invariably exceeds at least a 1000 meters in a single stretch. Many army officers can relate fond episodes of this, as it has often enabled them to miss an obnoxious train taking them to a godforsaken destination. You must have guessed its name from its looks , it is called Power Wagon. One ton is not a very civilized label.
There's more : This is classified info. The US is considering this proposal in tackling the OSAMA BIN LADEN scoundrels. It is proposed to take all such vehicles as can be found and approach the BIN LADEN lair . There is a strong possibility that they will all die laughing.
The garden at Chirag School. Barely 3 months after the passing away of Mrs. Shakuntala Bhattacharji.
This was her paradise for almost 50 years. Since Sep.1953. She with Mrs. Mary Puech started the School in 1978 at the age of almost 60 years. No , it is not a circle and square garden.
Acknowledgements : Thanks to Tripod.com for providing first class webspace, cgi-enabled !! FREE!!. Acehtml Pro from Visicomm media for the actual creation of the pages. Aceftp for uploading to the site.
If you reached all the way here , after seeing most of the pages then this is just to say a big Thank you!. And Congratulations!!. You clicked through more than 60 pictures of a town whose name disappears from the milestones ( or is it Kilometer stones ?) 60 km on either side. That observation also lets me add another mission to this website. It is also promoting the idea, courtesy the Internet, that the Earth consists of more than about 20 people, 10 cities, and a single mindless direction to life, which the omnipresent media would want you to believe.