Thursday, September 11, 2014

Back to Blogging...I hope

This blog has been dormant too long... I may not have any readers left.  But then, what better to way to record your thoughts and get down to writing.

I was away from home for six months.  When I got back we had a new government at the centre, a new one at the state... which was fine.  I even got back to a new state, which was rather sad.  I have no idea if it will have any impact on the development of the region.  But it seems a part of me has been snatched away.  This place is no longer home.

Which brings me back to the book I am reading , Prison and Chocolate Cake by Nayantara Sahgal, the introductory chapter made so much sense to me.  Especially since all these changes in the past few months upset me.  No one else seems duly concerned, so why me, I wonder ?  At least the author echoes similar sentiments.  The book was initially published in 1954.  And later on in the reprinted version, she elected to keep the footnotes and not unnecessarily update it, which would have meant erasing the signs of the past.   She rightly mentions that updaters have done it with history.  Road names, town names are changed so very frequently. Statues are demolished and replaced.  For what she asks, to say that history began today ? That every generation has only a updated version of events not knowing what one went through to arrive at the present ? To wipe out traces would be to pretend they never existed.

Every time I am away even if it is for a month, I come back to find a building brought down, landmarks vanishing.  And I can find nothing in the city that I can associate with my youth.

Which is why, perhaps, I like to see anything that looks like it has been around a long long time. In London, I saw this milestone that was on one of our regular walking routes .

 So I looked up for it and came across this site - English Heritage - It says - Milestone - Cast Iron with an arched head. Retains the founders mark RU & J Barret 1834.

They even have a Milestone Society that has a record of all of them.

What I like best is, that it is there on the street.  No one has defaced it. No XX loves YY.  No pamphlets pasted over it. It might go unnoticed by many... but  it has been there since 1834 !

I even read that some of the earliest milestones are those erected by the Mughals and they were close to Agra.  Some have tried going in search for it, but the tourist guides have no clue of their location.  I can very well believe that.  Another relic disappeared like so many others.

I will sit and contemplate.  Go back to reading the book.  Like my blog posts, I had put aside books for more light and easy reading.  My success with both will be recorded here. Another post.. another milestone.


  1. Welcome back after a long break and hope we will have regular posts to look forward to.
    Talking of landmarks changes,old buildings demolished,statues brought down,names of roads changed ,I think these are the compulsions of growth.The old Moore Market by the side of Central had its old world charm with many book shops and Anglo Indian shops.but it had to yield its place when a new building for railways had to come up.Space was the constraint.
    The once prominent Jawaharlal's statue at Kathiapara junction has hidden from our view when the clover like flyovers came about to meet the growing traffic.The social and political changes have also brought about new names and new statues.The least one can do is to leave a memorial stone.Most cities are not recognizable after two decades.Change is constant and will have to be accepted.

    1. We missed a connecting train sometime in the 70s and spent some time in Moor Market. It had its own charm.

  2. Glad to see you back, Radha!

    Yes, there have been many changes, particularly in the part of India where you live.

    Here in Mumbai, some old buildings and localities have been declared "heritage' structures and the authorities are trying to restore & preserve these. Not always successfully, I'm afraid.

    A Milestone Society is an interesting idea. They seem to take a lot of pride in their heritage.

    I have not read the book by Nayantara Sahgal that you have mentioned. Her views sound interesting.

    1. Each place has its own heritage protection committee, but I do not see them doing much. Even while it is declared a heritage site, you see encroachments and the authorities turn a blind eye

  3. welcome back to blogging world. :)

  4. Welcome back, Radha! Hope to read more from you!

    We, Indians never bother about history. Very rarely we see old buildings nowadays. People from the nearby towns flock here to the cities for their living and they need a place to live and small small shops to cater to them and roadside food carts to feed them. Everything is in chaos now. Vote bank controls the politicians from taking action.

    I haven't read books by Indian authors much. I have started doing it in slow motion nowadays! I liked Indu Sundaresan's books.

    I always write long comments, remember?!!

    1. Yes, I do remember. More reason to post !


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