Cops with big guns and long sticks lined the sides of Ashram Road when Martin and I took a trip to the supermarket. He said there weren't usually so many police but wasn't alarmed, so I minded my business and kept out of their way as we walked down the rickety/nonexistent sidewalk.
After spending roughly seven dollars on a large bag of random digestive crackers, dry noodles and water bottles, we stepped outside to see that traffic had been stopped and cops were swarming the entire area. Again, we kept to ourselves but decided it was best to head home
Instead, we fell into a congress worker rally for Hardik Patel, convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), who has been charged with some offenses that could land him in jail for life. At the time, we didn’t know what the protest was for- between my English and his Spanish, Gujarati wasn’t exactly our speciality. (I know some Hindi, but it wasn’t helpful at the time) We also didn’t know that this is a serious issue that many activists have been detained for and most everyone has strong feelings about it. We mistakenly became excited at first to witness firsthand something so obviously important.
As we continued on, I was stopped by the police. They asked where I was going in a way that said “You really shouldn’t be here”. The crowd was thick, becoming heated and I stood out like a sore thumb- the easiest “Where’s Waldo” ever is “Where’s White Girl” at a protest in India.
I got scared. We went home. Lesson learned.