外文标题：Xubing's Trip to Guizhou And My Thoughts of Shimla
When I sat down to write a blog after receiving excellent pictures from Xubing, who had travelled around his home province, I had a mind to bring to you the beauty of the pictures. I wanted to leave to the imagnation of the visitor to my blog about what they said. Everyone of us has different thoughts on seeing a picture but accompanied narrative often tries to impose the thoughts of the writer on the minds of the readers. The pictures were taken by the man who had left his village in 1982 in search of better prospects and was impressed by the progress. In the accompanied mail that he sent along with these pictures he spoke highly about the progress in the region. Though the progress that you see here is not much compared with other parts of China but when, we see the formidable hills in the backdrop, the tough terrain in the landscape, you may agree with me that in such testing conditions even little is much.
This as I understand from the caption of the picture is a water storage pond for Fire Fighting purposes. A very sensible thing to have for a village in the hills where most of the houses are made out of timber. I once visited an ancient village near Shanghai ( A heritage vilage).There too, the equipment used for fire- fighting in the old days was kept on display. It seems to me that Fire Fighting is an essential part of social duty in China and tradition has been there of community participation, dispensing thus with the need of administration providing for it.
I grew up in Shimla which was said to be Queen of the Hills, the moniker given to it by the British- but that queen has been sullied, raped, using the word gang-raped will not be good, so I may say "Mass-raped". Shimla of today is so crowded, congested, polluted that though I live just about hundred kilometres from there, I don't desire to go there. Tears well up in my eyes when I think of the city where my childhood memories are ensconced.
Grandeur of Gorton Castle
What brought to my memories the Shimla of my childhood is thought that one by one the old heritage buildings have been gutted by fire. The latest victim, Gorton Castle (Gordon Castle burnt down on January 28, 2014) where my father's office was housed and I would go to him after school. Lady Irwin was the name of the school where I was enrolled in Nursery :). So taking little steps up the slope, I must be going there more than half a century ago breathing cold cedar scented air with my little lungs. The thought even today is very freshening.
带给我对西姆拉的童年记忆的是老房子一个接一个被大火吞噬。最近的一个受害者是戈顿城堡（烧毁于2014年1月28日），那里曾经是我父亲的办公场所，我放学后就会去那里找他。“Lady Irwin”是我小时候上的幼儿园的校名 :) 沿着斜坡拾级而上，50年前的我肯定要去那里，我的小肺呼吸着带着冷意的芳香空气。甚至今天，一想到这就精神振奋。
There are no ponds like the above in any hill stations, nor anywhere in any cities in the plains. The Fire Brigade station in Shimla is near Scandal Point. It's not more than five minutes drive from there to Gordon Castle- but location of Fire Station is irrelevant, when the city has no water, nor in all these sixty years, I am sure any proposal for storing it, getting it, must have ever been brought up by the government after government. When there is not enough water for general use, it is foolish to expect to have water stored for fighting fire. The encumbent government in Himachal Pradesh is staving off the charges of corruption by the previous one which has all the more cases of corruption pending against its ministers.
The incumbent Chief Minister is alleged to have got kick backs by favouring some company for installing power plants while the previous one's son wanted to convert the heritage grounds like Annandale in to cricketing ground for collateral fiancial gains due to escalation of real estate prices. This rigmarole and musical chair between the corrupt politicians goes on in India while the state of affairs continues to become worse. There is not even one city in India which has twenty-four hour water and power supply for not even any one day in a year, not even one.
Records with the state fire department say that since independence at least a dozen British-era buildings in Shimla, most of them under government occupation, have been consumed by fire.
The prominent ones include Snowdown Hospital, Wildflower Hall, Kennedy House, Peterhoff, the Western Command Headquarters, Raj Bhavan, General Post Office and US Club Army Mess.
The only thing that seems to have remained intact is the Records of the Fire Brigade, wish I could torch that.