In a quiet lane off Yangon’s Pyay Road is a square of lush green grass dotted with trees and flowers that belie the crazy traffic just a few metres away. Few people go there. Taxi drivers wonder why you would want to get off at that strange place.
That strange, quiet, manicured place is Rangoon War Cemetery, with graves of hundreds of soldiers who died in action in Burma during the Second World War. Maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the cemetery is a space where race and nationality don’t matter. Indian and African soldiers lie next to their colleagues from Britain, bound together by war.
This piece of history is not on any tourist map of Yangon. But this place is important. Because it reminds me of the damage that war has caused over the centuries. And the consequences of war affect all of us, no matter where or when we are born.
Location: Rangoon War Cemetery, Yangon (Myanmar)
Date: December 16, 2016
Device: Xiaomi Mi 5
Almost every colonial-era building in downtown Yangon has a spellbinding story to tell, though interest in aesthetic restoration is still fledgling. An unassuming building in Merchant Street now serves as a demonstration of how a facelift can be done while keeping the original architecture intact.
Taking into account the views of the residents and tenants, Turquoise Mountain set about renovating the building. They trained local workers, used quality materials and did it all on a tight budget. It’s a job well-done, and now there’s some hope that people living in historical spaces in Yangon will make an effort to preserve their inherent beauty. Fingers crossed.
PS- The project managers even restored the little altars outside!
Pictures taken on: July 19, 2016
Location: Merchant Street, downtown Yangon, Myanmar
Device: Nexus 5
On a hazy winter-like day in Mumbai, as busy officegoers crossed the maidan (grounds) at Churchgate, the Rajabai clock tower rises conspicuously high above the crowds, the coconut trees and 20th century buildings.
Inspired by London’s Big Ben, the clock tower was built in the Venetian-Gothic style in the 1870s. Financed by stock broker Premchand Roychand and designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, Rajabai Clock Tower in the Mumbai University campus has been one of my favourite buildings in the city. With its quiet Gothic elegance, the tower is a reminder that the city’s heritage are treasures that can last centuries, if only we care for them.
Location: Churchgate, Mumbai
Date: January 29, 2016
Device: Nexus 5