Have you read books wherein there are some ‘unexplored’ places which only a group of people know about and take 100% advantage of and the other dumb people don’t even know they have such places around them?
Well, visiting Conflictorium gave me the same feeling. It’s like Ahmedabad’s population is divided in two parts; 90% people saying we have NOWHERE to go on weekends except Alpha One and the other 10% people saying “If only I had more time! I could’ve explored this city! There is so much here!”
We usually travel by BRTS and when we reached the junction which was closest to Conflictorium and asked hundreds of auto-walas, none of them knew where or what it is!
With great difficulty we reached there and when we got out of the rickshaw, there wasn’t a doubt left for why nobody knew about it. In a corner surrounded by a overflowing garbage bin, there was a meager looking building which had ‘CONFLICTORIUM’ written on it. As soon as we entered the building, it felt as if we were given a whole new world which was untouched by other humans, left for us to merely explored.
So basically Conflictorium is divided into 2 floors which was originally Ms.Bachuben Nagarwala, Ahmedabad’s first hair stylist’s home and studio. It is merely an initiative that strives to engage every section of society with a variety of conflict expression and avoidance in artistic ways. As our society just talks about peace and how to restore peace, conflicts are never given importance to. Conflicts contribute a lot in the society. So they aim to remind us of all the conflicts in a creative way!
The very first segment which we had to enter is The Conflict Timeline which is a whole and sole record of conflicts! It has a collection of most of the conflicts that have occurred in and around Gujarat, not just riots but also floods, earthquakes etc. A broader view of what conflicts are. We were baffled to know that in spite of exploring this city so much, we had failed to unravel such crucial parts
The next part was the one which I personally loved the most. The Theatre of Conscience. The most thrilling part about this was that it had a free audio guide. You just had to put on the headphones and go to a particular junction and press the number accordingly. This room included issues like unequal treatment of women, the gap between rich and poor, religious differences and what not. It has a beautiful presentation with varied posters and statues of different animals indicating the diverse characteristics of humans.
The next comes The Empathy Alley where ‘shadows’ of our leaders had been carved. The concept behind this is that when humans start behaving in exemplary ways, there remains no difference between us and the gods. Hence, the leaders of India’s freedom struggle had been shown discussing the Indian Constitution. Also, these statues were connected to each other with tapes drawn all over the floor.
Every room of this place gave you a different sensation, a rousing a different sense each time.
The next one is Moral Compass followed by Memory Lab. Moral Compass had a copy of the Indian Constitution in the middle and the room was decorated with scrolls hanging from the ceiling with various articles on it. Memory Lab had numerous empty jars each having a slip of memory of a person related to any conflict they must have had. It was so appealing to the eyes that you couldn’t help staring at the jars.
The Power of the New was the next stop where a beautifully decorated mirror was placed with spherical hangings hanging, each with varied stuff.
Upstairs there is Perspectives, Reconciliation Workshop and Gallery of Disputes all of which have incomparable paintings and pictures and canvases and every possible way a paintbrush and paints can fascinate you
These lead to to the alley painted in a very attractive shade of blue, and hence, majestically giving itself the name The Blue Corridor.
And now, the best part, The Sorry Tree. We almost missed out this one and we were heading towards the exit but then, the guy who was in charge there, kindly asked us if we had been to The Sorry Tree. Judging us by our looks he led the way and then, we enter the Balcony. On the floor, the word ‘Sorry’ was painted in many languages and right in front of our eyes stood a tall tree, branches of which were all adorned with tiny leaflets which all had the same thing, “I am Sorry” printed on one side and on the other some mysterious words jammed together.
An apology which was hidden.
We were spellbound.
Three hearts had missed a beat together. You may not understand why we were dumbstruck but when you yourself go there, you’ll feel it.
With our heads held high we were stepping outside The Conflictorium when the receptionist stopped us.
“You guys look happy..?”
“We are proud of our city to have such a place! This is just so unique. We love it.”
“Well thank you! Would you mind filling the review register?”
“Not at all”
When I opened the register for filling my overwhelming experience, a steel chair hit me right in the face. The last entry was about 2 days ago and all of the entries were made by foreigners! There were barely a couple of ‘Indian’ entries!
“Why isn’t this place famous!?” I anxiously asked the woman.
“The taste of the people here is too bad.”
here is the address if anyone wants to visit- Gool Lodge,Opposite R.C High School of Commerce, Mirzapur, Ahmedabad, Gujarat 380001
PS: This is our 100th Post!! Thank you all so much for supporting us at every point. 🙂