This winter, I returned after a gap of some years to visit my old hometown Lucknow: the capital of the most populous and tumultuous state of India, Uttar Pradesh. There were parts that looked utterly different – enormous, walled-off parks with stern statues, bright and noisy malls, a river development and – most surprisingly – the beginnings of a metro.
And there were parts that were just the same – the crowded, cow-dung smeared streets of the old city, the boys flying kites on the rooftops, the myriad little shops and food stalls to tempt the unwary. There were just as many cows as when I was a child, and a lot more people and traffic, resulting in the kind of nightmare congestion that would give road rage to a flying pig.
Anyway, I spent one quiet day in the ruins of the old British Residency. It has a bloody history, and some of the oldest, most beautiful trees in the city. So here are some pictures of the Residency. A place worth visiting, both for its violent history and for the peaceful present. And, perhaps, an idea for a story or two?