…as you enter the three centuries-old Dutch fort at Sadras. I won’t describe the fort for you. Sriram has done it well enough. The fort, built in the 17th Century speaks volumes of a past long dead, an era gone by. I enter the fort and wish I were born in those times. I wish I could live there, experience the life of the times, fight all those wars, save the fort from ruin. I know that’s a crazy thought, but hey! One can dream, right?

I take a look at the ancient cemetery inside the fort. Thankfully, today it is open. As we step in, I feel an easy calm. I forget that I am Amrutha, that I am living in 2009, or even that I am with two others. I forget to speak. The ASI employee who takes us around is generous with his time, and gives us plenty of information. But, I am in a completely different world. I take in what he tells us, complete with the dates and events, but somehow, don’t feel like listening at all. He tells us to approach the main office of the ASI in the Secretariat in Chennai for more information. I am still not impressed. I can only wonder what happened here all those years ago. I can only try to relive those moments.

I take a walk around the fort, following the ASI employee and Sriram. Both seem completely self-assured, almost as if they know this place inside out. They probably do. This is my first time here. I get to the place that was once a kitchen. I see a flight of stairs going up and decide to climb. Sriram is right behind me. We take in the view of the sea from there. At this point, I turn, and see red. Right in front of me, on the dome of the centuries-old warehouse, is graffiti. Some random guy called Suresh has declared his love for someone else in ugly scratches all over the dome. What the heck? Can’t we even respect our heritage? I’ll never understand.

Recovering from the blow, we continue walking around for nearly half an hour, shooting pictures at every conceivable angle, forty-four in all. When we finally finished with the fort, all I felt was marvel at what an old, broken building can do to you. It is, after all, not just a building. It’s a piece of history, beautiful in every way.

Time stands still…

One thought on “Time stands still…

  • August 13, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Its a fact as a people we have no use for history.We are interested or rather believe in myths; myths about our origins,past achievements and our own greatness.While writing about the origin of the family,private property and the state Frederich Engeles writes about the ‘conspiracy of silence’ of the establishment regarding the discovery of family systems different from the one approved by the church and known to Europe.In our society almost everyone is like that;see no evil ,hear no evil and speak no evil is the guiding principle.What the catholic church did to to the non conformists during the inquisition has been recorded.Here also the persecution of the Buddhists and the Jains has been recorded in Tamil as well as Sankskrit literature. So we have a history of not accepting or even acknowledging the presence of others,other ideas and principles other than what has been handed down by the elders, saints and great leaders.I am afraid this explains the vandalism of the kind witnessed by you and which can be witnessed through out our country.During my stay in the north I have heard the tourist guides telling about how all the ancient monuments were originally built by the Hindus and modified the Muslim rulers after they captured the kingdoms from the Hindu kings.This may also explain the vandalism of the kind described by you.While on visit to Gangaikonda Cholapuram the capital of the middle cholas I could see an inscription about the demolition of the outer walls for construction of the ‘Grand Anaicut’ across the Cauvery.Mercifully the next English collector was not inclined to destroy the old monument and something remains today.May be all conquerors wanted to destroy everything that would remind them of their predecessors.
    I am afraid I will go on like this boring you and irritating the visitors to your blog. bye


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