You visit the Red Fort at Delhi. . What would you photograph?
If you are an average indian tourist.. (pardon the missing “I was there” snap)
If you are a DSLR toting foreign tourist or an “amateur photographer”..
If you are both of those, and additionally a “genius” 😉 ..
Watching colorful Indians, their antics and of course, their feet is far more interesting than looking around an over-crowded Mughal building on a scorching May day, ain’t it?
6:00 am – Pleasant morning. Might be a good idea to do some history spotting and photography.
6:30 am – Reach Hauz Khas Metro Station. The shutter to the underground railway station is half down. No one around. Feel for the pepper spray can in pocket & proceed with the safe feeling it provides.
7:10 am – Spot a pillar saying “Mehrauli Puraathathveeya Udhyaan” (Mehrauli Archeological Park) confirming that you are not lost. Excitement replaces the anxiety of walking alone on a deserted road with every passing cyclist slowing down to stare at you head to toe.
7:20 am – Set up tripod at Balban’s tomb. Two men appear from the foliage and come near you. The thought of pepper spray reinforces confidence.
8:00 am – Metcalfe’s Folly. Few uncles resting after their morning walk strike up a conversation with you – “beta, filum banaa rahe ho?”, “aajkal bachchon ki shauk hoti hai. . documentary banaane ka”, “nahi? toh kyun purane building ke photo lenaa?”, “aise hi? waah [all laugh]”. You think the world isn’t all that creepy anyway.
8:20 am – Marvelling the the moss near Quli Khan’s tomb. Over-protective uncle-ji arrives to give you a lecture.
“Nahin? Kahin akele to nahi ghoom rahe ho?”
“Akele? Photo lene? Dekho beta. . Itni subah akele maat ghooma karo.”
“Kyun? Kyun ki yahaan gandhe gandhe aadmi hain”
“Aise akele kyun jaana? Pata hain na zamaana kitna bigad gaya hain? Khud danger ko paas bulaana teekh nahi hain”
“Ghar mein tumhe aise akele kaise ghoomne dete hain?”
“Aise mat bolo. . Aaj kal ki ladkiyaan bhi. . Badon ke baat sunte hi nahin”
You can’t take it any longer. . You give him a lecture on how not just ‘subah’, ‘akele’ is unsafe and how the ‘gandhe aadmi’ attack people even at their homes. Show him pepper spray & in general, make the old man curse himself for attempting to give out unsolicited advice! 😛
8:35 am : Rajaon Ki Baoli. 5-6 dogs frowning at you for having invaded their privacy, but aren’t interested in protesting. You want to go down into the stair-well & click a few pics. But. . there is a young man who saw you coming and sat on the wall at the entrance. He has been looking at you since then. You think “Is this one of those ‘gandhe aadmi’?”. Idea of descending into the well dropped!
8:40 am : Searching for Gandhak Ki Baoli. Intend to go searching for the Bhoolbhulaiyya – Adham Khan’s tomb from there. Few more men pass you giving you the looks. One on a motorbike takes pleasure in startling you by whizzing past close to you. Dense foliage all around. Only dirty pigs and dogs there aren’t questioning your presence. You decide this is the area of the ‘gandhe aadmi’, turn around and walk back. With the pepper spray can in hand, one finger ready on the button.
8:50 am : Walking back to Qutb Minar Metro Station. The road that has come alive with vehicles, cyclists, fruit-cart-walas and pedestrians assures you of safety. The pepper spray has gone back to it’s nook in the backpack.
Thank you Uncle-ji. I gave you a piece of my mind confidently. But you managed to kindle the subconscious paranoia. I owe you the ‘pleasure’ of missing Gandhak ki Baoli & Adham Khan’s tomb.
Isn’t it sad? How we are programmed to assume that the world is creepy & dangerous? How you are never allowed to forget that? Especially if you are a female… Let alone over-protective uneducated uncle-jis in parks, even Profs tell you to lock the lab door if you work alone all night. . And to
try to make sure that atleast 2-3ppl are around.
I’m wondering. . Isn’t this “cautious” behaviour implicitly acknowledging that the ‘gandhe aadmis’ are in-charge? That the world is theirs to indulge in all kinds of crime? Telling them “We are afraid of you. We would curb our freedom & try our best to avoid you. But we’d never try to claim our right to be free by defying your taunts & threats. Please go around behaving as you please”?
Dec the 13th, 2009 : It starts today!
A purposeless mission taken up by an eccentric(slightly 😉 ) soul : To visit the Qutb Complex every other Sunday and record history-and-nature visually!
Warning : This eccentric soul (ES from here) is a psycho obsessed with the Qutb and what she calls her “photography skills”. Net result : Toooooooooooooooo many pictures of the Qutb Complex from umpteen angles to be presented on this blog over the next couple of years.
Disclaimer : The ES is not responsible for any trauma resulting from seeing pictures of the same damn place again and again and again.. and again!
Note : The photos presented in this section are by no means a complete set of beautiful(??) pictures that can be taken of the structures at the QC. This is JUST the tip of the ice-berg!
To the post now, after all those points to be noted..
This seems to be a popular angle to take in the minar’s beauty. . Lots of people love it. . So does our ES 🙂
The ES is EXTREMELY jealous of the little birdie.. The brat has easy access to such a nice little spot to enjoy the panaroma from! 😐
Now an unusual angle. . Which for once doesnt lead all eyes to just the Qutb! phew!
The view from the Alai Darwaza. . Whoa! The ASI definitely does a good job at maintaining this place.
What can be better than having a doorway like that one to flaunt and a window like this one to relax on?
With some history done, move on to see nature merging with history..
Mr. Squirrel too has a vantage point. .Not fair! 😦
A closer shot of ES‘s little friend 🙂
The ES’s little trip does seem to be fun though almost pointless. The “almost” is there for a reason. A super-hungry ES tasted the Andhra-Upma-Pesarattu at Govardhan (after waiting a good half hour for the folks’ kitchen to warm up to the first, really-early customer on this lazy sunday 😀 ). Just perfect to end the morning with. Actually, good enough for “Sunday Early Morning – bicycle – Qutb – photography – Pesarattu – Lab – Blog” to become a routine 😉
If its one thing to visit well known historic sites and know about the people and events behind it, its another to visit an obscure site with ancient ruins, whose history nobody knows about!
It is particularly funny when these buildings are right amidst the busy city, in fact, scattered among modern buildings. I am talking about my first outing on my bicycle. . To the unnamed ancient structures nearest to IITD.
Nothing too special about them except their age – which too I guess, is unknown, for the ASI hasnt cared to put up a board or anything notifying it. These seem to be parts of some ancient fort or complex (possibly the Hauz Khas Tank or Siri Fort) which have stood the test of time and civilization when their neighbours have been razed down to make place for roads and apartments. No carvings, no exquisite domes, no astounding heights – nothing really interesting enough for a tourist in the conventional sense. BUT..
Being there gives a feeling of having an intimate chat with the past! No sexy-sleek-camera toting tourists interested in proving to the world that they had “been there and done it” by getting pictures of themselves clicked at the “right” spots with the “right” structures for backdrop!
With just a few birds for company (and a dog who objected to my company!), I probably painted the picture of a complete crazy-nerd with my adventure-gear (camera, tripod, ipod, huge water bottle, bag equipped with apples, sweets, thepla and Indira Gandhi’s political bio!) to amused on-lookers. But who says a crazy-nerd cannot have fun? 😉
Here are the pictures of history well taken care of, but not really cared for!
Back at the hub of modern day technology (IITD 😉 ), my first successful attempt at capturing fellow-inmates!
P.S : Women ask for directions! But Delhi men either say “I dont kno” or give wrong directions!! 😛
How else do you expect me to travel 12km every morning in Delhi traffic??!!
Do I hear a “logical” question? That y I am not thinking of taking public transport or autorickshaw or even buy a vehicle for myself??
STOP thinking on those lines. It clearly shows that you do not know me! For your benefit, let me declare that I am slightly(?? friends will surely object 😉 ) eccentric and would never consider reasonable options!
That settled, folks who actually know me are bound to bark “Why the hell do you need to travel 12km a day?? After all, you are one of those souls comfortably settled in campus, needing to ‘travel’ atmost 1/2km to your lab???”
Well. . remember I am “slightly” eccentric?? 😀
Coming to the point. . the 12km travel is what is needed to make early morning visits to the Qutb Minar from IITD!
Now, being a research scholar with a serious commitment to my QCA research and completing my PhD in a decent span of time, I cant afford to take out 3hrs each day just to visit the Qutb!! Get the point?
Dare to ask why exactly I need to visit the Qutb every damn day???
U really do? I warn that the answer is most unreasonable & is based on a crazy experience!
If you persist to read in spite of that warning, here goes..
Reason : Going all the way(arnd 6km) to the Qutb just after sunrise, all alone and seeing the beauty of the structures along with the enchanting morning sun and parrots and squirrels is P.U.R.E P.L.E.A.S.U.R.E!
How did I reach that conclusion??
By doing precisely that. . this morning! 😀
What started as a trip to the hostel mess from my lab in a quest for downing something called breakfast, took a lot of unexpected, sudden turns..
Like deciding to take a walk to the Ashram just outside the gate to enjoy the morning weather..
Then deciding, impromptu, to while away time (of course, by walking aimlessly!) till a nearby restaurant opens so that “Mission Breakfast” is accomplished..
Setting an innocent limit to the walk. . Till the junction where the routes to Saket and the Qutb Complex separate..
Feeling like walking a bit more. . Just for the heck of it. . and reaching the next junction..
Walking a bit further. . for no apparent reason..
And spontaneously deciding to in fact walk to the mighty minar, and doing it! 😀
Now, the atmosphere of the Qutb complex – with all the mysteries that known and unknown pieces of history bring along, the intricate art, the dominating structures – seemed all the more inspiring in the winter morning, when just a handful of tourists (paying a customary visit with no real curiosity 😛 ) are loitering around among a whole china-scale population of parrots, india-scale population of pigeons and say, US-scale population of squirrels. . not to forget a Pak-scale population of really frightening dogs! [that was a long sentence. Read. .and re-read carefully 😉 ]
Add Ilayaraja’s awesome music constantly keeping elevating my already sky-high mood through my beloved Sennheiser PX100 headphones. The result => Me smiling @ everything around me, standing here and there and devouring the sight from all possible angles(mind you.. I did not have my camera with me!), singing (of course on mute!) the songs all the while. Consequence => The tourist crowd found another not-so-ancient attraction at the Qutb Complex – an obvious(??) lunatic who had possibly escaped from a mental asylum somewhere close by, or perhaps a crazy IITian as her sweatshirt suggests.
Walking all the way back to the aforementioned restaurant wondering how the emperors would have conceived the idea of building structures, what kind of politics would have lead to their “untimely” deaths, what other heritage sites did they plunder to be able to erect this one, what kind of architectures and carving styles have been used etc etc was a pleasure in itself. The Sambar Vadai & Filter coffee served at the restaurant did not excite one enough to overshadow the awe about mughal history.
To do justice to the mughals and the Qutb and my claim of being a history freak, I do not have any choice except to visit the place any number of times till all the facts about the place and its beauty sink in.. Do I? 😀
So. . Back to the title. . To make this fancy feasible and reasonably less time consuming (put in “healthy” to that 😉 ). . I need a cycle! Got it??
I too got it. . The cycle. . Immediately after the filter coffee 😀
Now, this proud owner of a smooooth bicycle is all enthu to explore the other heritage sites of Delhi over weekends. . AND subject them to my photographic “skills”. . AND blog about the trip!
Yoooooo Hooooooooo! 😀
I am back to full-energy full-enthusiasm mode after months! Looks like my research is going to pick up speed too @ this rate 😀
1. I miss Tamil Nadu toooo much!! This stupid place doesnt have a single small shop selling steaming idlis & puris (okay.. @least rotis) @ 7.30am!! x-(