Posted by Mansi
Ten minutes of stillness - that's what I gave up my ticket to the Greatest Game Ever Played (also known as the WC '11 final) for.
I decided to visit the Golden Temple during a random and completely unrelated conversation that took place amidst sweating bodies, showers of tinsel and a we've-run-out-of-booze crises. I followed through on it two weeks later because I was searching for something that a lot of my friends seem to have found in Amritsar: a sense of contentment.
I didn't find it. Not while jostling for entry into the inner sanctum of the stupendously beautiful temple, not from the quiet corner on which I sat alone, willing to suspend all disbelief, watching the sun rise up over the glimmering walls. The promise of it, however, was palpable - I felt like a kid who could see the blanket on the top shelf of the closet but was unable to reach it. I'll just have to go back and try again.
I was in Amritsar for only a night, so didn't have time to visit the famous dhabas, but I stayed at a super pretty haveli which had been turned into a hotel - Ranjit's Svaasa. The Ista Hotel is also a good option. If you're visiting, try and attend the Lowering of the Flags ceremony at Wagah Border, around 10 km from the city, a pure distillation of Indo-Pak rivalry and national patriotism. It gets really crowded, so ask your hotel to arrange VIP seats.
Nam Le's The Boat was my reading companion on the trip, a collection of ferociously intelligent short stories from a first-time Vietnamese author. It's a little hard to get your hands on but you can buy it on Flipkart, or just borrow it from me.