Crumbling Structures and the Stories they Tell

This is an old post, from an old blog, edited and re-published.


There is something incredibly beautiful about derelict buildings. Broken wrinkles running down their length, faded memories staining the once fresh coat of paint, they stand tall, held together only by the stories they’ve helped weave over the years.

Drown out the noise and you’ll hear that that soft assured voice you thought was gone. Like the matriarch, sitting in her favourite chair, a fire by her side and the little ones around her, these old buildings will tell you the stories and scandals of time – from the mundane to the extraordinary, and the life led in between.

Rotting window frames and fragile balconies stare at a changing world. The street lamps, on the other hand, haven’t aged at all (this is how small grudges build and cause great falls).

Around the corner, an old warrior has fallen; they blame it on the arthritis that set in. In its place now stands an upstart, arrogant and healthy (the elevators and plumbing, both work like clockwork, and as silent as a mouse). It makes them look bad, bringing waves of pity and scorn. None are deserved.

The traffic light changes and cars charge on. Delicate stone faces carved along the building get dust in their eyes. Look closer and you’ll see eroded smiles. On the terrace amidst a tangle of cords and cables, ageing blue-green veins, under layers of dirt, a fading J hearts I remains, even though it isn’t true anymore.

And therein lies the truth: time changes, but the stories, they remain the same. Along these streets, the old buildings watch them replay over and over  again. If only you’d stop and ask, they’d teach you a thing or two.


13 thoughts on “Crumbling Structures and the Stories they Tell

  1. Spot on, beautiful post, Neha! I like a good bit of crumbling melancholy, me…. Reminds me of a castle I’ve just visited (and blogged about) – St Hilarion’s, in N Cyprus. Slowly being subsumed by vegetation, but still alive with myths and magic.

  2. Totally agree with all above comments.

    You completely capture that feeling of walking into a quiet, broken down building.

    Reminds me a bit of the beginning of Spirited Away when they happen on what they think is an old amusement park. But it’s not.

  3. If they could the Old ‘Uns will might teach the brash upstarts a thing or two. The upstarts have a fresh lick of paint, but no stories to tell, at least not yet.

    Lovely post.

  4. Absolutely wonderful ending, Neha. Beautiful, as always. Funny, I just posted a piece on my blog last night about houses and the stories they tell. So this really resonated with me.

  5. “If only you’d stop and ask, they’d teach you a thing or two.”

    Amazing line! Applies to local travel and consulting the local people in India too! 😀

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