“Welcome to the National Heritage Tour in India’s capital state of Gujarat”, the young guide’s voice boomed as he beamed happily at the bunch of European tourists, who were staring at him expectantly.
“I am Ram Bharose, your guide for today and I will be taking to all the famous tourists spots across the state, in a journey that will astound and awe you. I am glad to see that all of you are wearing the specified clothing, Dhotis for the Men and Sarees for the Women, with pallu over the head, as has been specified in the official Tourism Handbook by our Government. And I humbly thank you for not wearing any jeans”, he said in perfect English.
So saying he ushered the tourists in a large bus, with a white lotus painted over it.
“My dear Atithis, we will shortly arrive at our first stop which is, by default, the begining of any Tourist activity”, Ram said, as the bus arrived at a small white building.
Ram led the tourists inside the building which quite resembled one of the traditional Indian kitchens with a smiling face of Vidya Balan greeting them from one of the posters on the wall, her hands folded in a “Namaste”.
“Now, all the lady Atithis need to stay put here for the rest of the tour, while the men can accompany me to further destinations. As you all must have been appraised by the Official Tourist Guide by our Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, A Woman’s place is in the Kitchen”.
Leaving the ladies behind, wondering what they were exactly supposed to do in the kitchen, the rest of the party followed Ram, who was waving his saffron cap in the air to get their attention.
They stopped in the front of a small shop or a “tapri”, as they call it, which was decorated with pictures of a white bearded man in a fashionable dark blue expensive looking bandhgala pinstripe suit.
“This, My dear Sirs, is the famous ‘Chai Ki Dukaan’ of India’s one and only Legend, Shri Shri Bhagwan Mahatma Kalki Avatar NaMo Ji. This is the place where NaMo Ji used to sell tea when he was a kid. Here, you can buy copies of the famous book, ‘Chai se Chand Tak’ for a mere Rs. 1000 by using digital transactions of your choice. NO CASH PLEASE.”
The group slowly moved on to a nearby riverbank which was strewn with empty plastic bags and bottles.
“And THIS !!! My dear Toursits, is the River Bank, where our Honorable Legend used to wrestle with Crocodiles and rescue kids from the river. You can see a free promo of ‘Bal Narendra Ki Amar Kahaniya’, written, directed and produced by Mr. Pahlaj Nihalani and acted in by Gajendra Chauhan Ji.”
The bewildered group of tourists was trying to watch the exploits of bravery, when Ram hurried them to one side, as a Man ran past them, being chased by around ten men, with saffron bandanas on their heads.
Looking at the scared expressions on the faces of the tourists, Ram turned to them and said in a soft voice, “Dont worry, this is our Official Gau Raksha Dal, the man being chased, honked his car horn at Gau Mata on the road and disturbed her, as she was sitting there peacefully, the Men are only going to teach him a small lesson. That thing in his hand is his car horn and those things in their hands are called Gadaas”
The worried looks on the faces of the tourists were enough to make Ram move them to another location.
“And here we stop for a toilet break, before we go to our final destination”, he said, pointing to four trees lined up next to each other. “This is the only toilet spot within the next ten miles. So please use this break to relieve yourself as you will not find another cluster of trees till we reach our final destination and peeing on roads is not allowed or our Officers come and click your pictures and post them on social media.”
One of the tourists finally managed to muster up enough courage to ask, “But…dont you have proper toilets?”
Ram shook his head, as one would while admonishing a small child, “Ofcourse we have toilets, but we dont have water connections. And havent you read the AYUSH guidelines which say that ‘Calls of Nature Should be Addressed in the Nature’??”
The same tourist looked at the trees and saw a few people with a paint bucket, under one of the trees with an “Under Maintenance” sign hanging by its branch, and asked the Guide once again, “And what are these men doing with that tree….errr…. toilet?”
Ram replied, “Oh they are painting the leaves saffron. The color green is banned in our country. We have to do it every year, atleast twice because the painted leaves keep falling off and replaced by new leaves. Patanjali laboratories are working on a special formula by which the trees will start having saffron leaves automatically, if injected by 100% pure refined, Desi Gau urine. Lets hope it works”.
The tourists finally got on the bus and were taken back to their final destination, the airport.
“So, my dear friends”, said Ram, “I hope you enjoyed your tour. This is the Karnavat Airport, previously known as Ahmedabad. From here you will be taking your DIRECT flight back to Europe. The flight will only stop in Suryapur previously known as Surat, Mumbai, Varanasi and Delhi. May Gau Maiya be with you.”
“Hope you have not forgotten anything behind and have collected all your properties like your wallets, money, mobiles and your wives”
One of the tourists turned to Ram and said, “It was nice meeting you Ram, and thank you for the very informative National Heritage Tour. Is Ram a very common name in India?”
The Guide turned to the tourist and said softly, “Yes it is sir, my name was actually Junaid, but I have to frequently travel by train between Suryapur and Karnavat, so……”
He quickly wiped off the hint of tear from the corner of his eye and smiled again, “Jai Shri Ram”
Disclaimer: This story is a work of fiction, all characters in this story are made up, the story is set in an imaginary future in year 2030…..Junaid however was real.