Eiffel Tower was designed and built in 1889. If you’re in Paris you can’t miss it – even if you want to. The top of the tower is visible from all over the metropolis. The tower symbolises French Revolution and France’s struggle against poverty…
JUST THINK of towers and there are only two names that shot up the memory screen – Qutub Tower (Minar) and Eiffel Tower. The shadow of former encompasses centuries of history of India; the rise and falls of several dynasties, the caravans of Sufis and warriors and the hopes and realities of emerging India. Eiffel Tower is relatively infant – a sentinel of modern France. It is made up of iron and, at one time, was the most despised structure – an anathema for contemporary artists and aesthetics, who felt it odd and not in harmony with the architecture of Paris.
It was designed and built in 1889, by the famous engineer Gustavo Eiffel, who was known for his mastery over ‘bridge building’. It was built to commemorate for World Exhibition to celebrate the French Revolution. It took two years to build this magnificent structure and only one worker died during the entire activity. Think of the safety standards and equipment of 19th century and recall the Metro mishaps that we are getting used to in Delhi.
If you’re in Paris you can’t miss it – even if you want to. The top of the tower is visible from all over the metropolis. It spears up 300 meters in the sky and if you want to climb through stairs, there are only 1665 steps to test your guts. I felt the use of angular elevator would be more helpful to enhance my spirits before I reach the top of the tower than challenging myself and end up as a cropper.
The guide there was telling a little known fact about the tower that, apart from numerous well known suicides, it was used by the scientist Wulf who discovered the Cosmic Rays from this tower.
I used plenty of time to stroll at the bank of river Seine and the flowers and green grass that make the beautiful surrounding of Eiffel unforgettable.
Paris is name that conjures up the images of riches, aristocracy, fashion, beauty, perfumes, cosmetics, art and style. It reminds of poverty also – a very bad name indeed. When I reached the tower the dollops of soft cotton were floating around high up in the light blue sky and a cool wind was blowing. It was so reassuring and pleasing to eyes, which were feasting upon the dancing auburn tresses that crowned the beautiful faces.
The view of Paris from these dazzling heights was really spectacular and the river Seine was flowing like a shimmering silvery serpentine in the body of city. There were guides and there were telescopes and binoculars to unfurl before the eyes the history of city that witnessed the best and the worst of life. One guide was talking about French Revolution, Napoleon, King Louis and his queen. The other guide was telling about the Notre Dam, Arch of Triumph and Champs Elysees.
One guide was enjoying the narration of the day when the poor of Paris stormed the Bastille Prison – when the crowd was gathered outside in the mid morning and by the afternoon the ’drawbridge’ of the inner courtyard was cut. It was the history of poverty and rebellion against poverty. It was the history of fight between haves and have-nots. I was so engrossed in that I forgot I was in Paris. No, I was near the seventh Bus Stop of Malad West – at Malwani. The knots of eunuchs, with their drums and wrenklets were getting down from the bus after their days toil; pick-pockets were comparing their earnings of the day and regular labourers were coming to rest to their huts.
I was not on Eiffel Tower but amongst my own people where poverty and hunger and disease come as natural and they gracefully accept. For them rising index of stock exchange or economic depression are meaningless. They are far above the Eiffel Tower. I don’t remember when I moved into the descending elevator. For the moment I was back in the lap of my placid, staid and colourful Bombay and the show of fountains at Bellagio failed to arrest me. The evening was soured for the moment.