Welcome to the jungle – 2

Months back, a post was made entitled ‘welcome to the jungle‘. That post though full of wild trees and shrubs, had no wild animals in it. So this time, we have most of the wild animals found in this one, accidentally strategically being published just before the release of Jungle Book.

With 4 visits to the National Zoological Park (Delhi) over the last 6 months, I clicked over 1000 bad pictures. There is something addictive watching animals for hours and patiently waiting for hours in the harsh sun to get that one shot that can be shown to friends and family ūüėÄ So here, I will post some of the pictures of some of our friends who are fighting for their existence and are forced to live in their dwarf homes at the center of one of the most densely populated cities of the most densely populated country in the world. try to get something funny out of these fat asses.

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One fine day at the Republic of Zoorasia
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“So, ready for the fight bro?” “Sure man! Start counting your days! But where is the lousy referee looking?”
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“Fuck the referee bro! There’s only one rule in our fight club! It is, there’s no rule!”

Suddenly, the whole tribe intervenes and tells them to stop. They have a news!

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Hey stop you naive idiots! Haven’t you heard of the Panama leaks? All the big cats have their names in it! Let us go and protest like intellectuals!
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“Yes yes! Follow me. Those cats might be powerful, but hiding their money in the Panama Canal ! Hahh! They can’t be as smart as me”
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“Hahaha oh monkey! You are such a monkey!”
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“Hey croc! Just because he is black, you can’t call him a monkey! Racism is not allowed here!”
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“And that is not racist, you asshole? Silly animals! The day I complete my evolution degree and get promoted to homo-sapien, I’ll teach you a lesson”
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“Hehehe he’ll become a homo..”
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Yup! That is why I prefer to say under water away from these people
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“Umm, we are saving our seats here since morning to see the drama. Could you please protest now so that we can have some entertainment? We are really bored of news debates”
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“Protest? Against us? Was peeing in my drinking water a part of that?”
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Sorry dude, that was me. I feel my bladder is getting smaller
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*ROAR* “What is this commotion about in my kingdom? Don’t you know I am a no-nonsense king?”
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Speak up now! I, your king, am here! Or my roar has left you out of words?
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“Ha! Silly old man! We had oil! So we became a democracy years ago! You are not the king anymore”
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“And in democracy, we can pee and sell it as oil”
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“I am going home :/

To be continued… Maybe, if I feel like… Someday. Please tell me if you smiled.

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Evening blues

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As the sun sets and it’s time to go home
A strange figure moves at the horizon
Its spectacles reflected the dying light
As the creature drank the water from the sea

Suddenly my eyes open and I see around
Moon has risen, highway still jammed
Around 7-8 people more in the bus
Expressing the frustration in their own ways

I see a lady with reddish brown hair
Communicating her inability to fly to someone concerned
A man with a moustache thicker than his arm
Murmuring best wishes for everyone who’s on road

A young man with a French cut
Staring at infinity and lost in its beauty
There’s also the conductor for whom keeping his sleepy eyes open
Is as easy as completing a marathon with a bun in the oven

There, I hear a slap from an elderly woman to her child
The favorite way of venting out by parents
And of course, the guy of my age sitting beside me
Reading what I write, scared of this creepy sight

Oh, the traffic moved!
The gush of air and the moods soothed.

Mughal Home

Red Fort
Red Fort

Encouraged by castle queen Millie, and for the promise done to the wisest hermitage Beth a trip was made to the Red Fort in Delhi when the temperature was 40+ degree Celsius (104+ in Fahrenheit scale). Though I was already bathed in sweat even before reaching the fort, but I have to admit, the above sight was refreshing!

Before entering the premises let us talk about the history and see if something interesting could be found. This time, naming was not as lame as it seems (refer this post on Old Fort). Originally known as Quila-e-mubaarak (Blessed Fort), it was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, who is known for huge, beautiful and pointless structures like Taj Mahal (wonder of the world), Two red forts (in neighbouring cities) and Jama Masjid (biggest mosque). He was probably the Steve Jobs of that era. Making things that cannot be touched by ordinary people, are absolutely useless but are the benchmarks of “class”.

The construction began in 1638, when the capital was shifted from Agra to Delhi by Shah Jahan. (His grandfather and father of so many jokes, Akbar shifted from Delhi to Agra as he found his previous home, the Old Fort, unlucky! Little did he know that his wannabe real estate agent grandson will build a new ‘lucky’ fort in the years to come). Shah Jahan appointed the same architect who designed the Taj Mahal in the memory of the emperor’s first love and third wife, Mumtaz Mahal with whom he had 14 of his 16 children! So much inspiration to keep looking for true love, no matter for how long.

The home to the Mughals for nearly 200 years (till 1857), the largest monument in Delhi looks as mighty as ever. The circular podium built in the middle is the place where the Prime Minister delivers his address to the nation every year on Independence Day.
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Here is a closer look to the podium, along with the soldier doing probably the most boring job in the world, in a weather which is proving to be the ISIS of south est Asia.

Keeping an eye
Army guarding the fort, doves guarding the tricolor

Now it’s time to enter the fort through¬†Lahori Darwaza¬†(Lahore Gate). This was named so because of its orientation towards the city of Lahore (now in Pakistan). The beauty of this magnificent main entrance to the fort was spoiled during Aurangzeb’s (Shah Jahan’s son) reign by the addition of bastions. Shah Jahan, who was in a jail at that time (Aurangzeb found old-age homes too mainstream for his beloved parents) wrote a letter to his son and described this as “a veil drawn across the face of a beautiful woman”. That man lost all his prized constructions, was jailed (and later killed) by his own son, and he was thinking about beautiful women. He was so desperate to take romance and idiocy to new heights! I wonder what would have been Aurangzeb’s reaction after (if) he had read the letter : “Pops! Your heart is as big as your testosterone levels. But you are about to die. It’s high time you get a life!”
On a completely unrelated note, Shah Jahan became the emperor on February 14 ūüėõ

Lahore Gate - 1
Lahore Gate – 1
Lahore Gate - 2
Lahore Gate – 2

Here we enter it and have a look at the high flying tricolor. Gives me goosebumps. Every single time!
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Though it was built according to Islamic prototypes, but Shah Jahan, one of the few secular rulers which India has been blessed with until today (pun intended) has his unique style of architecture that reflected the fusion of Timurid, Persian and Hindu traditions.

If you haven’t been here before, you’d be surprised to know, that the fort begins with a shopping¬†mall! You can buy the stuff from all parts of India at the rates hearing which you’d feel, “It will certainly cost me less if I make it rather than buy it”. Here are a few glimpses of the shops inside:

Jewellery and other decorative items
Jewellery and other decorative items
Handicrafts from Rajasthan
Handicrafts from Rajasthan
Beautiful pieces from Kashmir
Beautiful pieces from Kashmir

Upon crossing the small market, this is the view of Diwan-e-aam (Public audience hall) that welcomes you. This was used for state functions when the emperor found time for those from his wives and children.

Diwan-e-aam (Public Audience Hall)
Diwan-e-aam (Public Audience Hall)
Diwan-e-aam : closeup
Diwan-e-aam : closeup

Here was kept the throne that was used by the emperor. It is also worth noting that the Red Fort was the house to famous “Peacock Throne” and the¬†Kohinoor¬†Diamond (the world’s largest diamond) that were stolen by Nadir Shah who came from Persia to engage in a devastating battle with Mughals. The Kohinoor now resides in London and the Peacock Throne was lost. LOST? Was it an eraser or a pen? How can the most valuable throne be lost by such a fierce ruler! I won’t be surprised if it gets available on Ebay some day. Have a look at the other throne now. Can somebody please tell me how did the emperors took their lazy bums up there? It is at least 10 feet above ground. And the old-fashioned skirts that were worn by the rulers, jumping or climbing was not a good idea at all. Or probably some of history’s first wardrobe malfunctions happened here. Can you imagine this tagline for those spam links that float on Facebook : “OMG OMG! HOT UNSEEN PICS OF SHAH JAHAN” !

Emperor's throne
Emperor’s throne

It’s time to visit the personal palace of the egoistic kings now! This is the widest view I could manage by my phone camera. The palace consists of 3 parts surrounded by all types of scenic beauties.

Khas Mahal (Emperor's Palace)
Khas Mahal (Emperor’s Palace)

Finally some more images that were took while roaming around these massive structures. Hope you enjoyed the journey without stinking with sweat. Apologies for not visiting your posts lately. Had a very busy week but will try my best to get back here as soon as possible. ūüôā

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Laughing through centuries

On an average, how much time do you spend to think of a title for your blog post? I hope at least a few seconds? But we Indians have a shortage of time. So we call the oldest known structure of any type in Delhi as. . . ummm. . . “Old Fort“. Well it is old, and it is a fort. So ‘Old Fort’ it is.
I wonder how this might have happened. The person in-charge asks his employees : “Hey I need a name for this structure.”
Employee 1 : “Tell us more about this structure, sir”
Boss : “A magnificent castle of sandstones, it has 18m high walls which traverse a whopping 1.5km. It was renovated by two of the strongest rulers who walked on Indian soil in the 16th century and was first built around 2500 B.C.!”
Employee 2 : Oh I see ! So it is an old fort !
Boss : YOU ARE A GENIUS ! *grabs his cheeks and kisses the forehead* ! INDEED IT IS ‘OLD FORT’ ¬†!

Let’s have a look at its entrance before going into names further.

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Main entrance of Old Fort : Bada Darwaza

“Bada Darwaza” – that translates to “Big Door”. Please my lovely readers, observe two minutes of silence for the team who was assigned the task of naming this castle. I mean, what the fuck were they thinking? Did they think they did a very cool thing? Was that for publicity? Guess we’ll never know. Let’s enter the big door to see what’s inside now.

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So while walking down this lovely road let us know about the funny people who have lived here. The fort is believed to be constructed 5000 years ago during the period of Indus Valley civilization by a few fictional characters from the story of Mahabharata (Pandavas). Wait a minute ! Fictional characters built a real fort ! I am telling you there is something spooky with this place !

This was renovated in 1545 A.D. by Sher Shah Suri, the first Afghan emperor of India (also known as Sher Khan (Tiger Lord) because he once killed a fully grown tiger with his bare hands and took WWE to a whole new level). This was probably the time when the United States had no idea that Afghanistan had oil, so the Afghanis had the liberty to boss around its neighbours who were still celebrating the discovery of Zero and thinking of themselves as geniuses.

But then, the Hindu king ‘Hemu’ (also known as Vikramaditya. Shouldn’t it be the other way round? Why is the real name smaller and cuter than the nickname?) attacked Sher Shah’s son and became the king in 1556. But just after a few months, one of the greatest Mughal emperors, Akbar defeated Hemu and to create terror among Hindus, hung his torso outside this fort. WOAH Dude ! I could not bear the smell of a dead rat! You preserved a dead body outside your home? You must be having an eternally stuffed nose!

Now we reach the end of the above road and see this beautifully beautiful, perfectly perfect¬†Qila-i Kuhna Mosque – translated as ‘Old Fort Mosque’. No, I am not making any jokes on the name now.

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The backside
The front
The front
The inside - 1
The inside – 1
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The inside – 2
The upside
The upside
The view outside
The view outside

Now I’ll show you what is the more tragic than the Hemu’s death and its show off, and at the same time more funnier that Russel Peters. Please welcome the Sher-Mandal. Built by Sher Shah Suri as the “Pleasure Resort”. That man ruled India for 5 years! Less than most democratic parliamentarians do! He built a road from Bengal to Afghanistan and numerous other structures, defeated the mighty Mughals, supported the uprising in Bengal and got time for pleasure! Men were always men. There is more to it. But have a look at it first.

Sher - Mandal
Sher – Mandal
Sher - Mandal
Sher – Mandal

Yes, both the times, the clicking of couples outside the pleasure resort was co-incidental and have no relation with anything – living or dead ūüėõ

So the story goes like this – After the Mughals defeated the Afghans, Emperor Humayun who had earned the title of ‘Insan-i-Kamil’ (Perfect man) with his peaceful personality converted this pleasure resort to a library. One fine day, when he was having some me-time in his library, he heard the¬†Adhan (call for the prayer) and rushed to the staircase. Next – Humayun fell down and broke his crown, there’s no Jill to come tumbling after. And a great emperor died by falling from his staircase. That’s why they say – good guys really get heaven, while bad guys get the girls.

So that’s how I had a great day today talking to these walls and listening to their stories. I hope you too had fun. Please tell me you did because you don’t want to experience what Hemu experienced. (Just kidding).
Thank you for reading my longest post. Leaving you now with some more pictures of this marvelous castle standing through the ages.
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If you liked this, you’d love to read what the lovely Millie Thom¬†has to say about Castles in Wales¬†as this trip was inspired by her wonderful insight into history.

Waiting to bloom

Lotus Temple, Delhi
Lotus Temple, Delhi

Perceived to have a heart of stones
Pretending to be content with petals closed
Peeking to see the sun while the cloud moans
Pining for breaking free – eventually exposed

Claustrophobic the pretty palace starts to become
Caught between desires of present and past
Clamour of shrieks rupturing the ear drum
Crying, he hopes to fly before life ceases to last

A place to express joy and anger

The mighty gate stands tall, reaching the moon. Dazzling in the darkness of night, telling thousands of stories of bravery and sacrifice.

India Gate (May, 2015)
India Gate (May, 2015)

Sometimes though, the borrowed light goes out, and India seems to be in darkness

India Gate with full lights
India Gate with full lights

And the evil forces in the sky can be seen

India Gate when lights went off
India Gate when lights went off

It is then when the picnic spot changes to a revolutionary one

Road towards India Gate (December, 2012) Protesters jamming a 3km stretch
Road towards India Gate (December, 2012)
Protesters jamming a 3km stretch

The city of power demands it, powerfully

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To break the chains to free the Might
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The Beast

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Mighty and ferocious
He challenged the king
The Earth shivered
Birds stopped to sing

The skies struggled
To look through trees
Who stood still
Like the snow freeze

One dash
A violent blow
From King to pawn
The throne to go

Undoubtedly he won
But glory lasts for little
Time, which brought
A beast disgusting as spittle

Freedom lost
Might in vain
A world destroyed
For some petty gain

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The picture of the lion was taken many years ago at the Delhi zoo (India) and the mighty Asian elephant shown is in Coorg Elephant Camp (India) where elephants are kept for days before they are transformed from wild to trained ones.

All in one

This was in December last year, during vacations and amidst lot of free time. It was Christmas day and I have no idea why, but I wandered off to the busy streets of old Delhi (also known as Delhi – 6) because that is one place which has the potential to surprise you each time you visit there. The only reason being that it has so much to show you that you just can’t get all of it, ever ! I hope you too realize this as we go further with this post.

The first stop was a small¬†Church because one, it was Christmas (smart you are) and two, it was the closest stop to my home. Thanks to my very less knowledge of Christianity, I was somewhat disappointed as I couldn’t hear any Christmas Carols on 25th December’s morning :/ But still, the place was crowded and deserved a few pictures. So here are a couple of them.

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On moving further I yet again realized why I haven’t made much frequent trips to this area. It is because you have to crawl your way through this.

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But as they say in theatre, there always is a comic relief. I understand that this is a place to get screws and is run by some Tayal. But “Screw India” ? That is really cheap marketing ūüėõ

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And then you realize how evil it would be to ask an engineering student to apply Kirchoff’s Law here ūüėČ

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Anyways, I moved forward and came across this man, who bragged about this garbage here was a brand new vehicle a few hours ago. It gets stolen, brought here, torn into bits and pieces, and all the profit that can be made will be made in the next few minutes. Just fabulous !

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So enough of all this randomness. Remember it is still Christmas. So let us go and see some religious places? What about Jama Masjid? The largest mosque in India? Again, remember God is one. Now before entering the grand old mosque where more than 25,000 devotees can pray at a time, this is required:

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Now that you have done that, let us see the mesmerizing place :

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But see what was visible from there? Yes, that’s the Indian Tricolor on the mighty Red Fort.

251220131807So let’s go there and see the palace of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan who stayed here after moving his capital from Agra to Delhi.251220131830251220131831

As the sunset approached, it was again time to celebrate the spirit of Christmas. This time, it was the oldest Church of India, St. James Church. Yes, there is more to old Delhi than just old houses and old people. You can see how many times the word ‘oldest’ has been used in this post.

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And finally, after visiting the worship places of Christians and Muslims, this Hindu went to that of Sikhs. This is the Sheeshganj Gurudwara, built in 1783, at the site were Guru Teg Bahadur was brutally martyred. The environment for Christmas (Bada Din) were enchanting but sadly I couldn’t click pictures as it was, umm, not allowed.

So that was all about old Delhi – all that I could manage to see in one day. Signing off for now. Will be back soon.