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The Home of Knowledge: Seshadri Iyer Memorial Library, Cubbon Park

An internal voice started to talk, 

As I decided to take a walk

“I want to travel back in time,

I want to find solace,

Solace somewhere other than in the usual rhyme,

Will I find it back home or in a palace that is flawless?”

I walked the streets, my heart guiding me to the evergreen garden of trees,

Some may call it Cubbon Park, I call it, the land of memories,

I searched for a spot, I searched for a spark,

I searched for a portal, that could transport me to the light from the dark.

Carrying that dread and pain,

I found myself in the same place again,

The home of knowledge made only of red bricks and mortar,

It feels like this home has been here forever,

Built by the nation’s enemy,

In tribute to the city’s hero, a monument in his memory.

The path decorated with greenery on each side,

I hastened towards the peace that waited to embrace me inside.

Tourists think they can absorb the essence in a picture

But I captured it within me, from from the feel to the texture.

Supported by the Tuscan columns, built in the European style,

Yet it has managed to stay Indian for quite a while.

I enter, abandoning my footwear on the door,

Entering a sacred building, with naked feet on the floor.

I inhaled the mesmerizing fragrance of the books,

Literary classics not found anywhere else in India will possess you as soon as you look,

While I returned what I took,

I craved to read all the 2 lakhs and 65 thousand books.

I decided to take a trip to every corner and every nook.

The pages of 830AD kept whispering to pages of 2016

Trying to decipher the whispers I continued my journey in between

Waving to the tall and handsome bookshelves 

Not being bothered about anybody else

The deeper I went, the safer I felt.

The walls had a new story to tell, 

About their hero, after whom their home was named, the Dewan of Mysore,

Seshadri Iyer, the maker of modern Bangalore.

When the city was filled with the cries and suffering due to the plague,

He treated it as an opportunity to serve the people, which logically is quite vague, 

Instead of dwelling in remorse about the disaster,

He decided to be the knight in shining armor.

“The streets were decongested,

Roads were widened and sanitation was improved, ”

The walls proudly stated.

“He built the Victoria Hospital as well,” the walls added.

The city remembers his tale,

Named a few places in his name.

My face now shining, no more pale.

Inspired to do the same.

But for honour and not fame.

What made the library the memorial hall?

Whatever the reason, the people don’t seem to regret at all.

Image Source: [1], [2]

About Mariyam Saigal

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