Being there

[029] ... [General], [Reading]

May be you too have wondered on 'how come all murders happen in England' in most English mystery and detective novels, or how New York is often the place chosen from the Aliens to Godzilla to King Kong to let loose all mayhem, and many such how and whys. The second might be an easy guess for it provides a familiar backdrop recognised the world over, enchanting surroundings, people of all creeds, economics being no criteria to set right the damages in no time, and perhaps more convincing justifications. Whatever, we enjoy the spectacles nevertheless.

Coming to the first, I, like most others developed a taste for the genre (reading that is, not the act of committing) through Sherlock Holmes. Besides the plot and the act of solving, what keeps you engrossed in those and stories by other writers (cases to be precise) are the descriptions of old England, the premise of sylvan settings, rustic buildings in wood and stone, the front garden, bicycles, horse carriages and trains, candle light, telegrams, coats and hats, money in silver and gold, where people often suffered from brain fever, a dash of brandy always set the nerves right, typewriters that identified the user, hand-delivered messages, electric light and automobile that were novelty--tranposing you back to another era.

Thankfully Internet came much later to let us still enjoy the frozen period in descriptive print. I have often wondered how our predecessors were so creative in every part of the world, each building their own way imaginatively in the local materials, so expressive and proportioned, scale and grandeur unique to its region, and the only way I could guess was a lack of exposure, or too much of it, that let one focus on what's available to make best use traditionally. Then came the printed journals and glossy magazines that showcased the ongoings world over cutting the barriers, and then of course the Net to bring every nook and corner visually closer. May be too much exposure to others' ways has robbed off thinking locally, making each place so much like others with no real identity except the signboards in local language. People seem to dress-up both themselves and the cities alike in a universal format--not sure if to ascertain being in or just as an accepted norm.

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