A phone call is all it takes, to change lives forever. Sometimes it pushes you in an ocean of scary uncertainty with statements like “Kohli, Navneetkokuchhhuahai, koikuchhbatanairaha” (Kohli, something has happened to Navneet, no one is telling me anything).
Other times, the voices from the other side are calm and composed. They silently throw you into emptiness. They just state the fact as they are. They can be as simple as “nahi” (no) when you desperately shout to the other person, “is he alive or not!?”.
Last year, it was a dear friend. This time, on the first anniversary of that friend, is a senior. The times when you are forced to believe that the worst happens to the best of us, you are consumed by both despair and fearlessness. You stop believing in everything you thought to be obvious till now. Suddenly, lung cancer and smoking seem completely unrelated. Drinking and driving start causing deaths to innocents rather than the culprits.
The fond memories of laughter, discussions, let downs, guidance do remain with us, but the reality of God’s cruelty haunts the heart in nights.
Navneet and Sagar, wherever you are, hope you keep making lives of others beautiful like you did with us 🙂
Tired from the work, frustrated at the boss, sweaty by the heat. This was the state of mind when “places to go for photowalks in Delhi” was googled. I sincerely thank God that Google listens to our wishes quicker than God. Now, I just had to choose from the 87,200 results which were provided in 0.43 seconds.
Well, Bhuli Bhatiyari ka Mahal, which translates to “the palace of the lost” was chosen which is located near central Delhi, hardly 2 km from my home and surprisingly, I never knew it existed. I decided to take a walk as paying money for 2km when your belly starts becoming strikingly visible seems worthless.
Here is a view of the huge Hanuman Murti which you would have seen, if you have seen any movie shot in Delhi. It is a 108 foot long temple just 200 metres before the palace for the worship of monkey god, Hanuman. Hindus have 33 crore (330 million) Gods. So we could practically have a God for every species. Monkeys were at least our ancestors so it was expected to have a God for them 😉
Moving forward, let us enter the forest reserve in the middle of which we have our destination. Yes, Bhuli Bhatiyari is a forest that starts from the centre of Delhi and is spread across miles. But before entering the palace, the ferocious guard sitting on the tree asks for authentication of the visitor. The watchful eyes reminding me that I am just a visitor to a place I don’t belong to and I better behave.
The serene surroundings, filled with green trees and all types of chirping birds shields us from the cruel sunshine and worldly worries. Walking just a few steps more, we reach the beautiful, spooky and reportedly one of the most haunted places in northern India. I was glad the ghosts were not at home to welcome me.
Built in 14th century by Firoz Shah Tughlaq, the son of Mohd. bin Tughlaq who is famous for his intelligent mistakes. I am not sure if Firoz Shah is counted among them. This was used as a resting palace for the nobles and other powerful men who got tired while doing the noble job of murdering animals. Jokes apart, although the place might look like a ruin at the first glance, but the deafening silence interrupted only by the voices of the jungle, and a peculiar peace of mind granted by the rebellious trees made the place exquisitely beautiful. Probably that is why I wasn’t able to click enough pictures of it as I got lost in the lap of nature in which the palace was built. It was not until something bit me when I noticed the presence of other creatures near my hand. I was actually disturbing someone at home, waiting for dinner to arrive 😀
Coming back to the senses, I found a road and I started walking on it. You have to agree it was impossible to resist when you see this view on both your sides. The more I looked, the more enriching experience it became. The art of the trees forming so many shapes that the stars forming constellations could be put to shame. If you think the good things have been talked too much about, you must know that I was really feeling scared thinking what if the ghost stories about this place are actually true and the ghost of 7000 years old caretaker, Bu Ali Bhatt is waiting for me behind one of those trees with an axe or something of the sort. I was also curious if he would pose for me before killing and if I would be able to tag him on Facebook or Instagram or probably Mr. Bhatt would be too old fashioned for social media. If that were the case, I imagined him saying : “If Facebook was there in my time, I would have been celebrating my 700th anniversary with Mrs Bhatt. Too bad that by the time I carved my emotions on a stone as my first love letter, the whole Tughlaq empire had fallen and Mughals were already here calling me a ghost. How I wish to break the nose of Mrs Bhatt now with that first love letter.”
A few steps more, and I saw a small hole full of ants. I was about to click its pictures when a voice startled me, “Hey stop! What are you doing?” “Just clicking pictures of the anthole”, I replied politely. The man asked me to look closely and see if it is an anthole indeed. I did as instructed, and was surprised to see a rotten coconut buried in the ground with a red thread tied around it. Guessing from my confused look that I don’t know a single ritual of Hinduism, he told me that when a child dies before turning 5, he is buried and a coconut is marked at the site of burial because it is believed that he/she will re-born very soon. Also, the ants I see are not going home, they are actually eating the body by digging holes in that coconut. “Fuck”, I thought. I wanted to ask him, “WHAT ARE YOU SCARING ME FOR? ARE YOU MR. BHATT?” But I resisted opening my mouth (actually closing my wide open mouth), made a U-turn, and went back. Enough adventure for a day after the boring week 😀
So here I leave you again with the pleasantries which were clicked. Enjoy 🙂
Before you leave, I am on Instagram now. I will feel as good as Mr. Bhatt to see you there if you are there too. pk9692 is the username 🙂