My cousin shared an update by her friend on Facebook about Bezawada, in Andhra Pradesh. The writer expressed anguish at what is called Bezawada today, comparing it to the good old days when life was not so fast moving and people found pleasure in simple joys. It was a beautifully written piece. The writer gave a list of landmarks that constituted the city along with its people who made an indelible mark.
As I was reading it another city cropped up in my mind, my Madras; where every landmark has a link to my life. Gandhi beach in rains, Spencer’s, 14 storeyed LIC building ground floor shops, Roman Holiday in Casino theatre, Jaffar’s ice cream, Saraswathi music stores, India hobby centre, Higginbotham’s, Parry’s corner, Mount Road, Central station, Moore market, Kothawal chawadi, Kapaleeswarar temple, Finlay’s showroom organdy sarees, Vummidi jewellers, Peach Melba at Buhari hotel in Marina and its Juke box, British library, American Consulate, drive-in Woodlands, Eliphinstone theatre, mirrored skirts of Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan, VTI crafts; the list is endless so are my memories.
My daughter who is pursuing her higher studies in USA, presently in India for her field work, shared her perception of Bangalore where she grew up and about Hyderabad where she is now living and working.
All the above talked about different cities and different periods but one common thread in all these is that our city’s landmarks are milestones in our lives that cannot be separated from us. Our cities breathe and travel with us. We would each like to see our city only through our eyes, our memories. Our images of our city are more powerful than real pictures and that is why we refuse to accept the present scenario. It is like someone entering our garden and landscaping it.
Our city changes as days move on, some of us change cities too. We keep filling up our memories with new ones, we do not erase old ones but pile up new ones on these.
Add on milestones for it is an indication of journey, of movement.