Witnessing the Past

Today I’m going to talk (or write) about a particular hobby (or habit) of mine. Exploring (or ogling at) old buildings.

I was born in an old building, a part of which was built in probably early 50’s, and the part my family resided was built in late 70’s or early 80’s. My family stayed there from 1987 to 2002. We lived in the ground floor, where not a single ray of sunlight would dare to make an appearance.

old new paltan home

This is the google map image of the front side of our old house in 2013. The tin-shed part was built in 1997, here only the front view (the older part) of ground floor can be seen, the newer part of ground floor is in the back and that part is five-storied.

However, the older part was demolished two years ago and probably is converted to an industrial building or warehouse.

our old house demolished This was the picture of demolished site of the older part. Our old neighbor snapped the photo. The Word “Market” is actually “Market View”, as this building was very close (walking distance) to a local marketplace. 

So, growing up in an old house was like a constant adventure for a toddler. The older houses are grand, mysterious and have some messages to forward (to the ones who are worthy \m/).  I would always climb to the storage room, which was build upon the false ceiling of two washrooms. The ceilings were so high that we had a wooden ladder to reach that storage room. And I would spend a lot of time there, rummaging through old stuff that our family had over there, along with the old pipes and light sockets.

Living in an old house also prepared me and my brother to accept (if not overcome) the fear of critters, specially the fear of spiders. We would always be hosting a spider or two in our washrooms, splaying their eight digits wide all over the walls or under washbasins. They would hide inside umbrellas sometimes, and might surprise us by running into our arms (maybe they just wanted a hug), when we were about to open the umbrella. I learned how to kill a rat when I was like four years old. And I mean with a certain weapon, not mere mousetrap. We had a wooden spear, locally known as “Balukhocha” (Or literally “Sand poker”, a spear like thing that construction workers use to do some stuff with sand, I don’t know what exactly though). The task is to attack a running rat’s neck with the tip of spear. And I aced at the first try. It might sound violent and a bad parenting decision. But I like to believe that it was a wonderful survival exercise as well as a way of overcoming strange fears.

I was an observant child, so growing up in that house, I was always observing the patterns of doors, windows and ceilings of our house and how they were different from the other more recently built houses in the neighborhood, also the other flats of our building. Because the rest of the flats were built after a decade of construction of our floor.

I’m pretty sure that I am always attracted to old buildings because they remind me of my childhood. Whether it is an abandoned building, about to be demolished or a place where people still live, I always find myself attracted to those. Sometimes I take a longer route to home from different points of the city to steal the view of a few older buildings. I thought it was just me, but I’m glad that it’s not.

One of my most favorite authors, Mr. David Morrell has shown us in his famous book Creepers that, “urban exploring” is a real deal. People do explore older, abandoned city buildings out of curiosity. I wish I could find the urban explorers in the city where I live, because I’m pretty sure, I’m not the only one crazy about the old buildings and the very time specific patterns in those. I have singled out a few buildings where nobody lives but a caretaker, I’m pretty sure those buildings will be converted into malls and apartment buildings. The beautiful swing windows stained with memories will be replaced by sterile and functional sliding ones. The mosaics will be replaced with ceramic tiles and the front and backyards will turn into concrete garage space.

ALL I WANT TO TAKE A LOOK AT THOSE BUILDINGS, INSIDE AND OUT! Pity the buildings if not me, give them one last chance to whisper their messages to someone else.

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