This weekend, I passed by the South Park Street Cemetery in Kolkata. For grades 11 and 12, I used to attend a school just opposite the cemetery, and for two years, I’d peer into the cemetery every day on my way to school. I shudder to think that this was a decade ago.
I’ve always been fascinated by cemeteries (I don’t know what that says about me), and I usually visit cemeteries whenever I travel to a new place.
The South Park Street Cemetery was built in 1767 and has more than 1500 graves of British and Europeans who lived in the city during the colonial period. Currently, it’s a heritage site and one of the city’s few green and quiet areas to stroll around.
My school, I heard, was built on top of the North Park Street Cemetery and the French Cemetery – this made the building far more interesting to me than it would have been otherwise.
When I lived in Copenhagen, I lived next to the Assistens Cemetery, which houses the graves of Søren Kierkegaard and Hans Christian Anderson. I took a long stroll with a friend looking for them- only to find them hidden amidst tall trees and shrubs in the quaint twilight.
I also went looking for Karl Marx’s grave in the Highgate Cemetery in London and was amused to find all manner of objects – pens, candy, letters – on top of his grave. Nearby we found George Elliot’s grave, where admirers had ‘planted’ pens in the ground and created a garden.
If you’re as intrigued as I am by graveyards, turn over Find A Grave. It’s the world’s largest gravesite collection and lists the graves of famous and regular people across the globe.
I hope you find what you’re digging for.
P.S. It would be a grave injustice not to recommend Just One Thing to the living – so please go ahead and send this to everyone you know.