Where the Old and the New Co-exist | #WordlessWednesday

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“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.”

—Homer

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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9 Comments
  • Parul Thakur

    Reply

    Beautiful and such a stark difference. This is also a reminder that things so different coexist. I have never been to Calcutta. But maybe some day. 🙂
    This is a great WW post, Esha.

  • Anamika Agnihotri

    Reply

    This photo shows the stark contrast between the old and the new. I am also amazed how come that tree is growing out of that old building. Where are its roots? In the ground or the damp walls of the building? I visited Kolkata as a child and do not remember much of it now except for the tram and metro ride. Those rides were a novelty for me.

  • Modern Gypsy

    Reply

    My eye was immediately drawn to the the old building and the branches that seem to be growing from within it. There’s a certain charm these old buildings have, that newer ones just do not!

  • Alana

    Reply

    Where I live near Binghamton, New York, old, crumbling factory buildings co exist with brand new structures. It’s sad seeing the old buildings (some of which are over 100 years old) in such disrepair. In downtown Binghamton, there are historic buildings in disrepair, too. Some of them could not be duplicated today, because of materials no longer existing or labor so intensive no one could afford it now.

  • Debbie D.

    Reply

    Your photo has excellent perspective, Esha. Nice one! 🙂 Old buildings are so much more interesting for the reasons you mentioned: character and history. It’s a shame that many are demolished for the sake of “progress”. Happy Wednesday! Thanks for the link-up.

  • Balaka Basu

    Reply

    Eta kon jaiga di..it makes my heart to see the old buildings getting replaced by new ugly highrises.. I wonder why don’t theu try to maintain the old structure.

  • arv

    Reply

    Esha, I haven’t been to Kolkatta many times even though I share some connections through my ancestors. To me, Kolkatta is a city that hides many stories. All that it needs is someone who can uncover them. It is surprising that a city that was once Asia’s leading city, a thriving trading port has kind of died. Your picture brings out this element, I wonder if it is political moves or the fact that the city couldn’t catch up! Hard to say!

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