The Town in Which I Live
The town in which I live is not very large. I think it has only about 20,000 inhabitants. And we have no grand buildings to boast about nor historical monuments which tourists come hundreds of miles to see. I used to think, however, it was a very grand place, because I had seen no other towns; now that I have seen Calcutta, however, I think so no more.
My town is divided into two parts by a river. On one side is the old native city, and on the other, the Cantonment, for it is a military town, and we always have several regiments, stationed here. There is a bridge across the river, and this is the only way we can get from one part to the other. The river is quite broad, though of course it is nothing like as big as Hugli at Calcutta, and no big ships come up here. But, unlike the Hugli, the water of the river is pure and fresh, and we get a good deal of amusement out of it in swimming, fishing, and boating. And it brings us work and money, too; for great logs of wood are floated down the river from the forests and collected here by timber merchants.
The city is just like many other Indian towns. It is a maze of narrow winding streets, in which are the usual bazaars. The houses are small and simple and the shops are just like those in any other bazaar. But there are also some large houses, which look nothing from outside, but which are fine places inside. These, of course, belong to rich men, mostly banias. But most of the better class Indians have deserted the city and taken bungalows in the Cantonment, across the river.
In the Cantonment there are broad roads, bordered with fine, shady trees, and lined with large old-fashioned bungalows, each in its own large compound. In these, the civil officials and the army officers live, and some are taken by Indian lawyers and well-to-do merchants. The soldiers’ barracks lie on the outskirts of the town. And we have some good shops, a Christian Church; the Law Courts; and the railway station. So it is just like many other “Stations” in India.