I left the graveyard and headed back to the fort. I am drawn to the church. It is cool, quiet and peaceful. No one bothers me there. There was some sort of to-do going on in the courtyard. Everyone was dressed in their best suit or sari and they were listening to a bald headed man speak. TV cameras and reporters were everywhere.
After watching for a while I went and had a Pepsi in one of the walls of the fort. I tried to walk away but I was yelled at by the shop keeper because he wanted the bottle. Afterwards I went back to the church to escape the noon day sun. I stencilled some of the gravestones outside the church. Apparently they have been brought in from all over the world. Some had skeletons and grim reapers on them while others had flowers and text in Latin. The one inside the church, the one with Jane Amelia, caught my eye.
Who was she and why did she die at such a tender age; right after her marriage? Did she get married because she knew she was going to die or did she die in a fluke accident?
I know I shouldn’t be so fascinated with the non-Indian part of India, but I am. I feel drawn to the fort. Something pulls me there. Westerners live in the past… the glory days. Indians seem to live in the present. The past and the present in India are exactly the same. Things they did when the English were here are the same things they do now.
The fort is exactly the same. The English moved out and he Indians moved in and used what was there. I don’t mean the big white banks and the legislature buildings. I mean the other things. What used to be the gate keeper’s hut is now a restaurant; an old residence is the barracks; the road is still dirt; the more is still there untouched; the governor’s house is now a museum; an old store is still an old store; the church is the church; etc. It’s very spooky. In Canada we would have kicked everyone out and made it a historical site. In India people are living in the fort walls and their laundry is hanging on the gates.
I guess what I am trying to say is the fort is lived in, it is still a functioning part of Madras society, a living piece of history.