Stumbling upon a warm sleepy town

Low bridge to a sleepy town (c) margie parikh

Low bridge to a sleepy town (c) margie parikh

Light showers of a sub-tropical monsoon, bright hues of green and blue all around, a week-end and family at home make a perfect recipe for a little road trip. Not sure of which sanctuary might be open in monsoon, we decided to drive up to the town my children’s grandparents and their parents on father’s side came from, and hit the road for a nearly four-hour drive.

KadaNa Dam (c) margie parikh

KadaNa Dam (c) margie parikh

When the roads and the colonnade of trees are washed clean by the rains, there is no better thing to do during a drive than to just soak the serenity of clean freshness and smell the joy of the countryside. I wish I had some pictures of the road itself. May be next time. Today, I don’t have much of a story – just some fleeting images.

We found the town in transit – from ancestry to acquired recency, from old to new and from heritage to new construction. Between crumbling heritage and stark concrete, I couldn’t tell which one to side. In many places the abandoned homes have grass growing on the floor near the closed front doors..

Awaiting a knock (c) margie parikh

Awaiting a knock (c) margie parikh

Elaborate carvings on the closed galleries and windows made me wonder how they might once have been – at the peak of its glory as a princely town. The palace, as of now, is largely closed.

Palace at Lunawada (c) margie parikh

Palace at Lunawada (c) margie parikh

… and so are many other places:

Peepul springs up from a gallery (c) margie parikh

Peepul springs up from a gallery (c) margie parikh

Wouldn’t this window be more beautiful if some maiden looked out of it and there were no cables to obstruct the view?

No maiden for this window (c) margie parikh

No maiden for this window (c) margie parikh

.. and this one

Lonely Atari (c) margie parikh

Lonely Atari (c) margie parikh

…I could imagine elephant-led processions from this palace entrance once upon a time:

Palace entrance (c) margie parikh

Palace entrance (c) margie parikh

Elsewhere in the town, the old has already gone and its remains leave a trail of the building’s evolution around the relations between its inhabitants..

Traces of the things past (c) margie parikh

Traces of the things past (c) margie parikh

and the layers of paint carry the untold stories over decades and generations:

Layers of paint or tales of the times gone by? (c) margie Parikh

Layers of paint or tales of the times gone by? (c) margie Parikh

The old was giving a way, log by log, carved block by block to the new that would never have the beauty and charm of the old..

Block by block to brick by brick (c) margie parikh

Block by block to brick by brick (c) margie parikh

The pace of breaking down the old was hectic – no time to come down for a cup of tea.

A break (c) margie parikh

A break (c) margie parikh

The brightly colored plants find a way to grow amid all the rubble.

Grow anywhere, all the time (c)margie parikh

Grow anywhere, all the time (c)margie parikh

People also wore a dab of bright here and there, and curiously eyed us strangers as we passed by. When our eyes  met, the lady smiled shyly. I requested for a picture and asked her to look just the way she did when I turned to face her. She tried in vain.

One for the stranger (c) margie parikh

One for the stranger (c) margie parikh

In the mean time, the dog napped on the heap of sand.

Cooling off (c) margie parikh

Cooling off (c) margie parikh

The people chatted and work went on at its own pace..

Work, life and vaato (c) margie parikh

Work, life and vaato (c) margie parikh

Chatting up the visitors (c) margie parikh

Chatting up the visitors (c) margie parikh

Shy smile at being photographed (c) margie parikh

Shy smile at being photographed (c) margie parikh

More smiles followed

smiles (c) margie parikh

smiles (c) margie parikh

I put the smiles and the lingering richness of history in my bag and returned – to the familiar, bustling life back at home..

 

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