Thursday, 18 October 2012

Queen Victoria and the Raj

Queen Victoria and the Raj have left a wonderful building to remember them by.  I suppose any opinion as to whether the time of the British here in India was a positive thing or not, can only be answered by the Indians themselves.  However, the splendour of the Victoria Memorial must stand outside this decision.  It is simply a beautiful building.  I set out to walk there this morning, approaching it from across the large park right in the centre of Calcutta and it was from under the shade of an immense Banyan that I took my first picture.  Italianate and domed its white stones stood out against the milky sky and the green gardens which surrounded it.  If you don't get a chance to see it for yourselves, look it up on Google Images, it really is worth a look.  The grounds are immaculate and gravel paths lead you from the entrance to a statue of the Queen seated on a throne.  From there she could watch her subjects taking there ease under the trees and resting in their cool shade.  To find something like that in the middle of one of the worlds busiest cities is remarkable and even the traffic noise seems to fade away.
There, that's the descriptive prose out the way back to practicalities.  I have had the pleasure of meeting a lot of young French people today and to use the language of MoliĆ©re once again.  The first were a group of 7 youngsters studying in India, on their way to the Himalayas to do a bit of trekking and passing through for the day.  The second were a young couple who have given up their jobs to travel, before they eventually have to settle down and get serious.  They were really friendly and we are meeting this evening for a beer which I am sure will be nice.  My bargaining skills are nowhere near those of my wife's so I have given up trying to buy gifts.  The only thing I will regret is not buying a piece of artwork, as this is something we have always done before.  I might have one last try again tomorrow.

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