March ahead, with an eye on the past

Yesterday, this paper marked its 34th anniversary by celebrating little known, forgotten or fading city institutions while also acknowledging that it is impossible to avoid moving towards progress, in conventional terms. It was all about Mumbai, covered as extensively as possible, from its food, fashion, lifestyle, to the city itself -- heritage structures, architecture and even sports that continue to be the lifeblood of a throbbing, vibrant metropolis.

While nobody wants to return to the times of bullock cart or butter churn, it is not practical to live in nostalgia and moving ahead is inevitable. However, in the process we learn that juxtaposition of the old and new is necessary.

We know the famous saying, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Mumbai’s heritage buildings have secrets hidden in every crevice, distant voices resonate in every corner, Gothic arches hold history gracefully and their grandeur talks about an era gone by.

It is vital that we preserve these buildings, because they are such extensive lessons in architecture and construction. Similarly, certain foods that have the quintessential Mumbai character may get wiped off menu cards due to the advent of new age eating. Yet, we think Big Mac can exist alongside our humble vada pavs and the toast sandwich can hold its own against the grilled cheese one.

There are takers for both. A city is made up of nostalgia and newness and it is much more than just sentimental reasons that should spur us to preserve the past, even as we march towards the future.  

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