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  • I am reading this fascinating book, ‘Ghost train to the Eastern Star’
    by Paul Theroux. It is about his journey from London, across Eastern
    Europe, Asia and back. He had travelled this route in the seventies
    and the account of that journey was in his book, ‘The Great Railway
    Bazaar’. His writing brings all the places alive.
    I came across these words and they struck a chord. I was able to really
    appreciate his feelings,
    “The topography of Literature, the fact in fiction, is one of my pleasures.
    I mean where the living road enters the pages of a book, and you are able
    to stroll along both the real and the imagined road… for the way it shows
    how imagination and landscape combine to become art… the towns on
    the Mississippi that are important in Huckleberry Finn.”

    These lines reminded me of our trip to London last year. London did not
    seem like a new place. The names and roads and places are so familiar to
    us who have grown up reading Charles Dickens or Georgette Heyer or
    Agatha Christie or Barbara Cartland or Arthur Conon Doyle or Nevil Shute
    or P G Wodehouse and so many other books.
    The first week we stayed in Ealing Broadway and that place seemed familiar
    because Keith Stewart of Trustee from the Toolroom by Nevil Shute (one of
    my favourite books) went on those roads every day. The British Museum
    and Hyde Park are an important part of Georgette Heyer books. Many of the
    roads came alive because of Sherlock Holmes and people in books by Charles
    Dickens and Agatha Christie and P G Wodehouse. We had been to Oxford,
    Wimbledon, Greenwich and Hampton Court. Cruising on the Thames, walking
    on the London Bridge, looking at Buckingham palace were all familiar experiences.
    London Underground was fun and we really enjoyed ourselves, the names were
    so familiar because of Monopoly. :))
    I had been on the imagined roads countless times. It was fascinating when all
    those imagined roads became real roads and together they are a part of our lives.
    They are precious memories.
    It is equally fascinating how those ‘imagined roads’ in fiction bring alive places
    and long after we have travelled on the real roads, books once again make us live
    though our experiences and make the past alive.
    The imagined and the real roads become one.

    ( The photo is in Ealing Broadway )
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