When it rains in Shimla it is grey, dull grey. When the rain stops and the clouds lift, hesitatingly, a thousand shades of green explode. And then the journey back in time. A bit of nostalgia, a sepia memory, a lingering smell, myriad shades of green, rain and more rain. The cold seeps into the bones. Fluffy clouds drift into windows, rubbing on the roads, holding the whole town to its in its claws, not wanting to give up. Chilly wind and slush…the long walk home.
And then the break of the sun, thousand shades of red and orange, life is great, we are happy….let us go out, to the lovely crisp evening, to the mall road. Toss a new discussion around coffee cups. Gaze a million stars. The merry go round of faces, pretty faces…Years have passed and I remember Shimla, a piece of heaven as it were.
Most visible and the most photographed landmark in Shimla is the Christ Church on the Ridge. It is indeed an awesome monument, almost at the top of Shimla hill (further up is the steep Jakhoo top but not everyone visits that place!). With a tremendous backdrop, the church has imposingly presided over the town for over a century. Church has a long and interesting history. It is ingrained into the lives of people of Shimla, be it a reference to a direction or a meeting place. Many a face lifts later it still retains its stoic grace and majesty, silently looking over a town, which has been blissfully busy with its own growth.
I have a few pics of The Church. Such a pleasure to see how it changed over the last century. But the surroundings (less described the better), are victims of pathetic, greedy urbanization. Shimla today is stripped of its joyous, peaceful charm.
My generation were children of post-independence. Flags in hand, 15th August function at school, sweets, Nehru on Red Fort, dreams and more dreams, Binaca geetmala, Rafi and Dev and Lata…. life was so good.
Then something went awfully wrong.
Slowly, inching in with soft steps, a desolate dullgrey haze of corruption surrounded us. Loss of values. Rampant public loot. Degeneration of public morality. Layers of desperation. We were buried under an all pervasive pile of corruption. We metamorphosed from bright youngsters with a dream in our heads, to hopeless disconnected middle class citizens, trudging along, our heads cradled in our hands, scrapping our knees to attain material prosperity. Welcome to India of stifling bureaucracy, long ques for shoddy services and products, hope and despair for those of us who wanted to breathe an honest fresh air, in the lap of our own country.
Sadly….. this happened to millions of us, the children of Independent India.
In India, there is no correct insight about almost any subject, situation or person.
Reasons: | We are perhaps the world’s most heterogeneous, multisliced society | There are severe built in contradictions within society – cultural, economic, religious, political, geographic | There is invariably a strong right side up and an equally strong belly side up view, held concurrently | Who hasn’t heard of the argumentative Indian?
Hence, a 360 degrees view….