I have already written about every thought under the sun , on the exquisitely crafted sixth episode of one of my current favorite series / works of art THE ROMANOFFS, an Amazon Prime original. Set in Mexico city and centered on the protagonist Abel( JUAN PABLO CASTANEDA), it was a winning amalgamation of his humble personality, social issues and his own personal experience coinciding with his position as a resident of the city he lives in and loves deeply.
It clicked with me because I primarily identify as a resident of my hometown Lucknow and my affinities run deep. I can perhaps never fully explain this sense of belonging to the provenance I was born and grew up in, continuing to stay here. I write this brief post to let you know that this episode triggered the same joy that I have had in making others explore my culturally resonant city, one of the greatest apostles of art, mannerisms, imagery and syncretism, an architectural pioneer that is one of the very epitomes of the Indian mosaic of diversity. Known for its food, embroidery and intellectual dynamism since centuries, it launched an anti colonial revolt when other tony big cities were lapping up dual identities and till today continues to celebrate its unique innocence without losing its charm to plain naivete. Today, the city of Lucknow offsets its status as a cultural beacon with flashes of impressive modernity that any major center cannot ward off. But then it always set the stage for urbanity and sophistication. So modern furnishings add another jewel to its dazzling crown as it grows in stature.
I have had the privilege of taking my relatives, foreign returned and otherwise, to its scenic spots and allowing them to inhale a little bit of Lakhnawi aura ;they have all hailed or should I humbly say appreciated my knowledge of its history, social lifestyle and for me taking out the time to let them savour the experience. I should add that there’s so much still left for me to explore here itself and my sense of belonging will only add heft to how the city opens up to me with each passing year, as maturity reaches a high tide.
That said, like every city and that of the Eastern world especially, there are signs of civic neglect, urban congestion, social quagmires and hazy development that doesn’t escape my eyes. It enervates me because citizens need to take stock of the privilege of living in this blessed city, with such a rich and extant culture forming a contemporary continuum. I guess as a responsible citizen, I do my bit to stake my claim on my love for the place that has raised me.
A major tourist hotspot and internationally recognized, Lucknow needs to be felt with the diligence of an explorer and the clean slate of a stranger alive to new sensations. History is a living entity while change a part and parcel of its evolving tale. Once you live in Lucknow, it will be impossible to not profess love for it in individual ways of one’s own.
PANORAMA made me feel pride and a sense of ownership towards the treasures of a place that continues to redefine itself. Like Abel, I, too, believe I am the solitary voyager who looks up to the city and it always rewards me with renewed inspiration and a definitive legacy to create. Trust me, once you stay here, inspiration will be an overflowing fountain. So thank you to the makers of THE ROMANOFFS for doing that.