Searching for the Kashi Experience

I went searching for the experience of my city on the streets of a city not very far from mine: Allahabad. I had a couple of hours in hand and “what better way to spend them than in drifting?”, said the flâneur within. So, I strolled sans any immediate purpose, only to satisfy my psychogeographical urges. Surpries, a key product of drifting, lay crouching in wait on the next corner. There is a merging of four streets right at the entrance to Allahabad Junction. I took the street that lay on the opposite side of the circle, after crossing the street at which the entrance lies. The names that I saw while drifting have all gone, washed away. The impressions and memories of some places remain.

Cities have personalities. Their physico-cultural features are their attire. Allahabad feels different on two sides of the railway line: the Civil Lines and the city side. The geometrically perfect streets and block outlines of the Civil Lines provide an interesting contrast to the apparently unplanned bends in the streets that plunge in space at their T points. I had a general sense of direction, and of distance for the initial stage, but soon lost it as I progressed deep into the heart of the unknown yet inviting quarters: unknown because I had no idea of the nature of place or people there, and inviting because of its novelty, and similarity with my past city experiences. I suddenly realized that I was experiencing my own city with a transfer mechanism.

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