You don’t see me today. Not anymore.
It is not that you do not pass me by. You look at my face, not really knowing me.
You are interested, but it’s not about the real me, it is not about what I am inside.
You are interested in the act I put on, the mask that I wear.
It was different, not very long ago. You knew I had a soul. I was the most beautiful and you were the bravest of the brave. You and I, we have loved each other. From time immemorial. We have taken care of each other. We took pride in our being together. Trade, commerce, relationships and religion all were a part of our lives. Flowers and gardens bloomed around us and people spoke of us in awe. Even the streets were named after us, the cities were known by our presence.
Somewhere along, we lost our wealth. You got greedy and desperate. Maybe you travelled too far. You went west, as I stayed home. You took a fancy to the new ways of the world. And when you called the visitors home, the trouble began. They betrayed you and you lost your confidence. You lost your identity. We lost it all, beginning then. We had rich treasures, but we got interested in selling fakes.
Then the day came, when you broke my body. You got a new builder to make me new, an impatient one. He made me in a hurry. He put me up awkwardly and cared not for our feelings. “You wear masks nowadays..” he said, and “These keep changing. You look fanciful. You are made only to sell now.”
Sell, sell, sell!! You ask of me now. Look new every day. Bring on the masks and keep them changing. I have lost my patience and I scream loudly now. And the screams have become louder each passing day. The masks are lit in neon and LED. All night I do not sleep. The body is covered in boards and nylons. The gardens have gone, you plant plastic now. I look all made up.
No more crowns on my head. The sun does not strike my body in its golden grace. The rain kisses me not, nor does the winter breeze bring on the colourful shades. No artist paints my face, no poet writes about me. I have a million faces now; they are called the same around the world. I look like the others on the street. We compete against each other. We are shouting about our wares.
We, the architectural marvels of yesteryears, sisters in beauty, subtlety and grace, have turned into urban billboards of gimmicky advertising, sign boarded facades.
We have lost our character. Our creators have forsaken us.
by Samarendra M.Ramachandra
Featured image:The Michael Lee-Chin Crystal,
Gardin & amp; Mazzoli.