“Like the generation of leaves, the lives of mortal men. Now the wind scatters the old leaves across the earth, now the living timber bursts with the new buds and spring comes round again. And so with men, as one generation comes to life, another dies away.”
But not quite so, when you find yourself in the city of Kolkata, where the old buildings thrive alongside the new ones; where decrepitude exists, defiant in the face of time, and not willing to give way, where visitors come back time and again, marvelling at the juxtaposition of the two.
I lived here once, walked these lanes as a teenager, finding my way through the maze of roads that looked strikingly different then. Today, tall, new buildings line the road, malls have come up where once there were houses and coffee shops thrive in every possible nook and corner of the stretch. It seems that in many ways, the city has metamorphosed into one that I hardly know.
As I walked along, I noticed these two buildings—the new highrise that has now come up next to the old one, which now has decaying walls, with a tree branching out from the sides (wonder how the tree got there!), the plasters on the outside peeling off, layer by layer, and the slatted wooden windows partially open, with curious faces peering out.
In an instant, an era seemed to have passed by, bringing me flashes of my early days in the city. Oh, how I longed to go back in time once again, to the days that are now precious memories!
If you see the picture of the two buildings, the contrast of the old with the new is very apparent, but, for some reason, it was the old structure, weather-beaten and battered by time, that had actually caught my eye. Wonder why! Could it be because old buildings have a certain character? Maybe. Perhaps, also because old structures have a history and hidden in those old, worn-out walls would be many stories —of the people who lived in it, their lives and the times, of a certain way of life that no longer exists. Do you notice old buildings too? What are your thoughts on them?
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