There are these blurry dreams we all see. The mist which hangs before you see the peak clearly. For me the mist was becoming an archeologist. I would dig the earth and place random toys deep inside and then take pretend expeditions with my younger cousins to explore the hidden treasures (toys became treasures ..viola!). And despite knowing what I am going to find or knowing where I would find them – I always enjoyed discovering those treasures.
Things stand as it is even today! I travel to these museums and ruins to view what has been un-earthed by others! I know the treasures I am going to find, I know where I am gonna find them – Yet the pleasure of finally seeing them with my own eyes continues to fascinate me. No wonder I wanted to travel to Mohenjo Daro, Pompeii and Machu Pachu for so long.
In Pompeii, I was overwhelmed to see how the ravages of nature left for us a beautiful city to marvel at. These were one of the most egalitarian set-up’s with wide forum’s, public baths, public libraries, amphitheaters, sewer systems for all, Election Pamphlets- Did they miss something which modern cities have? Hopefully the filth ?!?
Not all the ruins were as well preserved. In fact the city of Naples, there was a parallel city running beneath it – (Don’t miss Napoli Subteranea when you are there). Preserving ruins in a busy city is no way an easy job. I had so many qualms about the way archaeology is not preserved in our country. But, seeing Italy one reality dawned on me. Countries which have been continuously habitated for so long, it’s always a fight between present survival and past preservation. And the present survival would always supersede the respect towards past. A deteriorating city of Naples could barely contain it’s historic riches.
The condition of Paris was entirely different. Probably, it’s the curse of history or the cyclical marrow through which the world has to pass mandatorily. Once a ruin becomes a castle, and once a castle becomes a ruin.France’s might from 18th century onwards led to the creation of fantastic museums with riches looted from around the world.
In fact, rather than the past riches – it’s the present economic prosperity which takes a higher hand in determining what and how much culture would be preserved. The violins outside the Louvre, the dance shows in the parks in Paris – Those would stay with me as a remainder of fixing the basics first and then aiming to shoot for the stars for India!