And a wonderful insight to african cities.
I previously spoke of my goan gujju friend and his blog gujjuinliberia.blogspot.com (yes he is on blogger). Read his latest phototravelblog on a city called accra.
tung tung da sound bajda…
rural olympics, tractors, folk singers, tractor sounds, bullet thump, and all the sounds under the sun….
Boston is a beautiful city, known for its history, culture, food and a lot more… The city throws up many surprises not found in any guides/books. One beautiful surprise is the Glass Harmonica. Invented by benjamin Franklin, the instrument produces melodius music. This adds one more invention to Benjamin Franklin’s list… Is there anything which he did not do??? So, coming back to the Instrument, you might have seen something similar in the movie ‘Ms Congeniality’, where sandra bullock play music out of some wine glasses. The Instrument uses the same concept of rubbing wet fingers over the rim of wine glasses. But the clever Mr. Franklin took those glases, removerd the stem and put them on a spindle.
So if you do happen to visit Boston, head out to harward square or the paul revere house. You might find Vera Myer playing beautiful melodies on the Glass Harmonica. She might even stop you to ask which country you belong too, and chances are she might play your national anthem or a famous folk song. BTW… she like jana, gana, mana….
In 1880 Major Clarence Dutton, while surveying the Grand Canyon, was tremendously impressed by the majestic butte rising about seven thousand feet above the riverbed. It reminded him of Hindu temples and so he named it Vishnu temple. In front of the Vishnu temple are the Krishna temple and Rama temple.
You have landed in firang-land… now what? If you are a tourist, it’s pretty easy. You already have planned your trip, booked transportation, booked hotels, carried some supplies and even carried some cash/card for shopping and impulsive spending. Since you will still go back to where you came from, the experience good (and some times not-good) is only momentary. But my plight is slightly different on this one. Though I am in firang land, unfortunately I am not a tourist. The whole experience is loaded with multiple shocks.
To start with, there is this “culture shock” which all desi talk about. There is this “FX shock” which you experience unless you get your salary in new currency. There’s also the “Weather shock” – Now how can you expect someone from equator to understand Canada’s freezing snowy weather. There’s also a “Development shock” – you are so amazed at the new developed economy, but deeply miss your developing economy for its cheap labour. Or it might be the other way as well – you are amazed at the chaos and how much a developing/under-developed country has accomplished… but deeply miss the civilized “developed” world. Its not that one is not prepared for the shocks. But, no mater how much you prepare for it, you’ll still experience it. Say, more like touching a live wire.
For the tech bend… it is like transitioning from Windows to a Mac. You have heard about it… everyone loves it… but the moment you sit down with it, you hate that all your windows tips-tricks don’t work over here. I mean all. To start with… there is no “Start” button. There is no “program files”… now where the hell is the control panel… and how does one refresh the screen…And why is it so smooth and fast. But at the end of theday, it doesn’t make much diff… cause we end up using Macs and PCs for surfing the internet.
Pantheon Road, Connamera Hotel, Fort St George, Frazer Road… an endless list of buildings and roads remind us of Chennai’s British history. Chennai, unline other India cities does not have any pre-british historic significance. Like other british port cities (Mumbai, Kolkatta, Colombo), Chennai was established for the port with a fort at its center. Fort St. George was that anchor for Chennai. Two centuries later immigrants helped expand the city to its current shape. Like Kolkata, Chennai too has a sizeable population of trader communities like the Marwaris. Owing to its location, it also had an influx of traders from Andra. The city was a big part of the British regime in India. No wonder the first Governer of Madras was Elihu Yale, after whom Yale University is named. The City expanded beyond the Fort over year.
Here’s how it looked in 1921 – with the Fort at center of expansion.
The city later expanded to take its current form.
But an interesting part of Chennai goes by the name “Burma Bazar”. While Burma has some British history, the Bazar is in Chennai for a different reason. Apparently when the Japs attacked Burma during WWII, many PIOs in Burma wanted to come back… mostly PTOs (tamil origin). The then GOI allowed them to seek refuge in Chennai where they could sell random stuff from Burma till they make decent money to start other businesses or get employed elsewhere.
Post independence, political landscape in Burma forced many PIOs to seek refuge in Chennai and Burma Bazar grew. The Bazar, which is a series of small shops along the road near beach station, is still buzzing with activity. The shops mainly sell grey market electronic goods, maybe due to its close proximity to the port. So while it is named Burma Bazar, there is nothing Burma-like.