Today I take you to a mall road. Streetwala is incomplete if I don't showcase a mall. The queen jewel of every hill station. The gift from Britishers. They didn't give us trains but streets too and I believe every city should have one. A small town must have a common market, especially hill stations lines with shops and for a walk. Yes to be in a town with mall road with a place to walk. Now you know where we get the word mall- shopping malls.
These nice vintage street lights. Don't you know streetlights are essential parts of every city. You know every streetlights have typical lights. Like Delhi streetlights will be different from Bombay and old city vs new city. Why? They too add characteristic to a road. A dark street will have more lighting from outside whereas the bright ones will have their own character. Like this one has a such hill and cloud texture just lighting enough to enjoy the getting dark. Against the dimness of the sky before the sunset.
These pretty streetlights which then form the sun of the street. Working when it's dark showing you the street to walk. May be I will cover a street in the dark. Watch!
The quintessential merry go round. Yes mall roads are like vertical fairs rather than a round temporary ones, this is my most favourite swing. I love to ride. Next time I go I will take all the kids along. It will be fun!
And the fountain of course part of very civic city. A good city which invests in fountains to enhance the beauty. Mostly the inner cities with no beaches. Because they don't have running water sources. So the city leaders create fountains like Chandigarh, especially. A good town with good people. It's a shame Bombay doesn't have any. Something pretty. Well Mumbai has no pretty. I love watching fountains. It has a soothing effect. May be I will get one for our room.
It will be fun!
So the streets spread around the walls the sides and people walking. That's the mall road you see. You can get similar walks on Mata ki chadai as in Holy goddess walks like Chintapurni, Vaishno Devi, Amarnath, Badrinath and Tirupati. All good ones have such character stics and they may too create a fountain with Devi Ma sitting in between enjoying water like sitting on hills the queen of hills. Who were these holy women who lived in these hills. Someone should make a movie on these devis. 9 Debian. I personally live street walking and hence going to all theses matas excites me. Though I am a lazy walker. But I only walk to watch. So I must go live in hills and host a TV show Streetwala. What life!
Then let's see this bench. Freshly painted looking new, but as old as ever. Like an old woman painted and sitting there to rest them. The lonely old woman who waits for people to come and rest with her because all she needs is a companion. Which come to rest. To talk to enjoy the weather. All these people they came to her for waiting before they proceed. A small stop a small milestone and a rest. And that reminds me how milestones from a part of every street. They add the length to its character showing it's roots and distributaries from where it comes from where it goes. Like it may have an end. Streets are the most intriguing inventions of humans who make their daily paths to streets. They cover the earth with concrete and makes it hard to walk on something hard to reach fast. Why do they make their life hard. Why they don't create soft paths of grass and trees to comfort and shade them. But that's because streets also have beauty. No highway - streets around which lives exist. You see streets reached where rivers could not. But they bought materials from beaches and produce from river sides for their consumption and they sent done back. Economics and geography combined by streets. Highways have no beauty of a street but they have wild life around them. Which is another beauty the emptiness the speed the freedom on highways is another street beauty. Someday we will cover them too. Highway wala. That's how I anyways cover all the cheeky sher behind the trucks and the paintings.
Steeets run so deep in our lives we have no idea. They connect everyone with each other to reach out to. If walls divide then streets connect. I wish I could live on a street. It's so beautiful. Not in the poor way more like watching the street in dark and in moonlight, counting stars and watching into far and yet not far in the dark. Probably staring into dark.
Now here see the shops. Some ethnic style stuff sold at thrice the rates to entice Holliday folks to buy. Mostly to fool foreigners and now to rising middle class. We have been fooled many times but we don't sat. Because all that holiday excitements makes you spend. Yes souvenirs for holidays. That too you get on streets you see. Old malls, city centres, bridges of Europe. Now bridges are streets too. Soon to cover.
So a wooden tools (popular hill handicrafts), antique decor, winter clothes, toys for kids or those back home, cafe and eateries, sambhar dosa in northern parts and daal roti in southern ones. Ha the hill station restaurant business is an interesting game.
What else. Book shop old books from the British raaj, sold by old men dieing and leaving stuff as trash or stolen from libraries. Kleptomania for books, that's what I call it. So this antiquity book shop in Shimla and Cambridge book shop in Massoorie are such book shops. Ruskin Bond visits Cambridge book depot every Saturday and fans can meet him there. I too am going as a mad fan.
Ahh the love of your favourite author. Only a book lover can understand.
There are old shady hotels and restaurants with stale bed sheets - smelly rooms - lonely ambience as if it's past it's age. Too old to tell stories so you just have to find these stories in the signs, their dim lamps which hurt old eyes and like the smell of decaying flesh in an old mans room or the stink of medicines.
And here is the cherry on the cake. The speciality of a mall road. The Cable Car! The beauty of it. The closest you can get to flying in a plain or the sliding and climbing feeling. This too is a swing which even adults can enjoy. Then go up the cable car where more fun awaits for you to chill and enjoy. To dress up in colourful hill billy clothes and click pictures. This dying art. I feel sad for it. It's such a gorgeous feeling. The ways of the old. Something from my childhood. Something I did as a kid. You want to see here. Mom Pa got me this one when I was probably 4. Then I got one when I was 13 and I got it last year when I was 32. No maths particularly but you can make out how much I like it. May be I will get one at 60 too.
Haaaaa the mall road, an ode by Streetwala and Keepsakewala and Storywala. You have grace of a street, nostalgia of a keeper and you have good old book shops untouched by technology!