Monday 24 March 2008

Down the memory lane

This was during the time I was in JNU. Some of my serious friends aspiring to crack the civil services used to subscribe to The Hindu newspaper. Now if you read The Hindu you know it is one of the most serious newspapers published in India. The Hindu has a knack of challenging its readers intellectually early in the morning or whichever time of the day you read it. Never a morning person and worse needing no intellectual stimulation I always steered clear of the newspaper. After all I was not one of the aspiring civil servants. Except on Mondays. On Mondays The Hindu comes with a supplement called the Metro Plus and there used to be this weekly article generally called “Down the Memory Lane” by this writer called R.V. Smith. His articles were on old forgotten Delhi, its history dipped in nostalgia. Lovely watercolours always accompanied his articles. His writing style reminds me of Ruskin Bond. For a history lover like me these articles were high points. Even after I moved to Canada I used to read his articles on the web. Sadly now The Hindu has stopped publishing R.V.Smith articles.
Today I found this biography of the writer on google.
R.V. Smith came to Delhi, as a young journalist in the fifties of the last century. His hobby for several years was to travel through the city, collecting stories about and histories of its many monuments, known and unknown. His columns, particularly 'Quaint Place', have delighted readers for several decades. His career as a journalist spans nearly four decades R.V. Smith is a man of diverse interest. He has written books of poetry, a romantic novel and travelogues. He continues to write for The Statesman, The Hindu and Mid-day on a wide range of subjects. Considered by many as an expert on Delhi, particularly its forgotten monuments, Smith belongs to the rare breed of amateur antiquarians.
‘The Delhi that No-one Knows’ brings together R.V. Smith’s writings, presenting them as an unconventional introduction to the city. The legends, myths, the folklore surrounding these monuments and how the author chanced upon these delightful tales together give the book its unique appeal.
I am looking forward to read this book.

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