Mhow and More: A reader responds

IN THE RACE FOR LUXURY AND LIFESTYLE …

Dear Mr. Baruah,

Just read the above mentioned article. Very interesting indeed.

 I have some peculiar memories of Mhow myself, while staying there for a course my husband attended in 2003.I must share these with you. These include-

 The amazing market for paintings-dealing with old British classic styles and copies from latest catalogues from Europe if you wish to buy something more modern.

  The leather works- leather moulded on wood horses, camels, rhinos, elephants, tortoise, and bean bags and chairs-cheaper than anywhere else in the country.

  The exclusive smocking work on dresses- which people believe in is from Indore, started as a tribal welfare activity by missionaries during British days.

  The textile factory which produces baby print bedsheets, but I hear has shut down ever since. The quality of produce was such that it lasts years.

  Bhawarilal’s mithai and namkeen- An old traditional tiny, crowded shop which can compete with shops in chandni chowk for traditional flavour and quality.

  And a particular kulfi wala who made rounds of the officers quarters every afternoon, rumoured to add bloating paper for extra taste!

 During my stays in various small towns and remote corners in India in the last 15 years have seen many architectural and cultural remains of British, Rajput and Mughal times, which must have once been resplendent with luxury and glory, now dying along with their stories and secrets. The ASI, INTACH and rich private hoteliers have saved only a few.

 It is a pleasure to see some still being maintained and lived in like the The Capitol cinema in Ambala,Tivoli in Secunderabad,18th century wooden houses in Coimbatore,Gen Dyers residence in Amritsar(with the bar intact),old parsi sanatoriums in Deolali,the Itarana palace in alwar-to name a few.

 I was born and brought up in Delhi and over the years I have seen the onslaught of growing population and technology on the city, changing its face and character. The once quiet streets, old trees, sparrows, clean skyline have all gone. But the greater change is cultural-particularly the chase for lifestyle and luxury. Smaller towns still offer some respite and people have more time and concern for each other.

 The physical laws say that entropy of a system i.e. degree of chaos can only be zero or more, never lesser. Our changing cities and towns are a prime example!

 Regards,

Neeti Kanungo

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