One of things that I miss in India is calling cities by the names christened by the British. I love cities being called as Bombay, Calcutta and Madras. It can be argued that a name does not change anything. Ahem! Name changes everything. Bombay to me died the day it became Mumbai. Bombay was much more secular, patient and accommodating. Mumbai is a city now which is burdened with dreams and strained with the sweat of its people.
I was going through the things I can do in Bangalore (now Bengaluru) and I came across Bangalore palace. It looked interesting and I decided to take a look at it. Bangalore is going through the same transition which Mumbai went through few years back. Like Mumbai has lost the charm of beautiful coastline, Bangalore too is slowly loosing it’s essence of subtle harmony with nature.
I reached the castle in the morning and took the audio guides. The main hall was elaborate and beautiful. My mind trailed off to Mullic Badi, marble palace in Calcutta. Both the palaces have resemblance of neo classical architecture and Victorian furniture. There is a huge Belgian mirror in Mullic Badi. I stood in front of the mirror and saw the whole room encompassing the mirror and reflecting the grandeur of the place. I looked so tiny in front of the mirror. As I looked at the mirror in the Bangalore palace, I realised that my reflection was the same, but the room had changed. I saw the past reflecting in the mirror and it was more important than the present me. The name of the walls of this palace still mattered.
One year ago I had visited the Boon Hall Plantation in South Carolina. The son of Captain Thomas Boon had planted oak trees and arranged them in two evenly spaced rows. His legacy could be seen only two centuries later when the oak tress grew and created a royal arch for the road. That is the day I understood that my name is not simply an identification, it is my brand. It is like the wand in Harry Potter books. It chooses you and takes its form.
I have lived in Bombay and I now live in Bangalore. I don’t know where is Mumbai and Bengaluru. I guess I will never know!