I looked in those eyes trying to find
The fear in which they swam
The pain that broke teary dams
Instead I saw,
Eye for an eye making the whole world blind
Innocent blood was split, burnt bodies were lined
Though candles were lit and songs were sung
Still hard to understand if the communal bee never stung
What candles couldn’t provide, was provided by terror
So eye for an eye made the whole world blind
Revenge was taken by spilling more innocent blood
Swords and knives transformed to RDX and guns
Punished was everyone except the culprits
The culprits of both sides still hard to find
Probably because eye for an eye has made us blind.
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.
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.
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 😛
Here we enter it and have a look at the high flying tricolor. Gives me goosebumps. Every single time! 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:
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.
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” !
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.
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. 🙂
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.
“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.
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.
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.
Yes, both the times, the clicking of couples outside the pleasure resort was co-incidental and have no relation with anything – living or dead 😛
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.
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.
To transform his weary world he took a flight
Got surrounded by a storm sinister, yet he
Flew to fight the menacing dangers still out of sight
Though scared yet the obsession was too sacred to flee
Gazers from ground watched in awe
The battle of big versus the small
With wind wrecking their nests of straw
Jealous judgements born hoping for his fall
The journey was long and tiring
Hurdles of rain and wind helped none
Unscathed the determination, and blood firing
Ensured that well begun was already half done
When the attempt was made by all the
The final result in the eyes of others
Nominated by Sunaina, whose writings with incredible insights never fail to explore new thinking horizons and Udit, a wonderful writer – I again start the Quote challenge with this quote by Rumi : “You were born with wings. Why prefer to crawl through life?”
The quote reminds me to be a little less cautious and a little more foolish so that even if I fail, I have the satisfaction of knowing I couldn’t have done better.
Being in an expensive bar during happy hours is fun whether or not you are drunk. There are individuals trying to mend a broken heart, groups celebrating a birthday looting an individual, and couples dating while respecting the slowdown in the economy.
There is a saying here that if there are more than one utensils in a kitchen, they are bound to make sound – referring to the occasional arguments people in a family indulge into. Well, probably at the time this saying was made, bars were not so prevalent as they are now. The “sound” that the innocently drunk “utensils” make is sometimes enough to subside the loud music playing in the language of Martians which is further remixed by Wall-E.
It was the time of our graduation treat at The Irish House in Calcutta and we saw a couple enjoying an appealing drink. It was a cocktail in which the whole solid can of Red Bull was immersed upside down. We were intrigued (and hoped the cans would pass the hygiene tests with better marks than we did in our finals) by the look of the drink. So one of our drunken masters, Ravi, went up to the couple and very respectfully asked the girl, “Excuse me, ma’am. What are the ingredients of this drink?” Unfortunately, the guy was in no mood to let her girl socialize and let our warrior get some happiness in the happy hours. “Ingredients? Are you a fucking scientist?”, he barked furiously. Heartbroken, my friend who had just a day before submitted his thesis for his masters in Chemistry declared proudly : “Yes I am !” And it was a delight to see the petrified faces of these newly made friends. The three of them spent a major part of the evening discussing the ingredients. 😀
Meanwhile another sober friend, Aleem showed me a card with these words : “Buy 2 get 1”. Anyone found it funny? Neither did I. Then he said this : “Dude how can these be happy hours? We have to pay for 2 drinks but they’ll give only 1”. And a subtle giggle slipped from Tejeshwar, sitting between us. This triggered a chain reaction and one by one each one of us spat out everything that was inside their mouths, laughing with tears in our eyes on this lame joke. It became a herculean task to stop ourselves from laughing but then the bill did the trick. The smiles suddenly changed in a moment to inquisitive looks to ascertain who has how much.
Just before leaving, we saw a man, probably in his late twenties or early thirties sitting alone with a beer TOWER on his table. He filled his glass and held it as if trying to crush it into pieces. His red eyes made it evident that if hate signifies passion, that guy has really found his passion in that beer tower !
Stories are more, but time is less. Alcohol is slow death. Consume only if you are not in a hurry to die. Thanks for reading.
Lately, I have been going to a nearby park for running *shows off the fit body by words because truth is always bitter* and the random faces doing random things are now becoming familiar. It is amusing to notice that everyday almost the same set of people are in the park at a particular time who identify each other by the way they ignore each other.
There are some who are sleepy, others who are creepy and yet others weepy. Here, I will be sharing some of the interesting characters that probably could be found in a park near you.
1. There is this Sikh couple. Every morning, they can be seen brisk walking and talking to each other. I am so used to listen brief excerpts from their conversations that sometimes I hear the lady’s shrill voice in my nightmares which makes it impossible to sleep. The interesting part is I have never seen the lips of the husband move a bit. It seems that he is walking as fast as possible to get a moment away from his wife and her voice but as nature had it, sound always travels faster than husband.
2. Moving past them, I see an athlete who looks as if he’ll die if he moves ONE more step. But as soon as he spots a girl nearby, the testosterone takes the better of adrenaline and from Stephen Hawking, he transforms into Usain Bolt. That is how chemistry could have been taught in schools : “The electron goes from low energy state to excited state as soon as it encounters vibrant radiations” ❤
3. As I continue to move in the direction opposite to all of them, I spot the inspiration behind that temporary Usain Bolt. The two lovely ladies in black tracksuits lost in the music from their black earphones and holding black cellphones in their hands. I am sure if I had seen them without my spectacles on, they would have appeared the Black Beauty moving sideways.
4. Before I share the next group of people, I want to mention that I love old people. Especially the ones following me and reading this. 😀
So there they are – atleast 15 men with white hair and white Kurtas-pyjamas, laughing. Laughing on what? Nothing. They follow laughter therapy. I, too tried it with them once. What starts from an awkward and fake ha-ha-ha, transforms to a hearty laugh only by seeing other awkward faces. The scene becomes all the more funny when a couple of them starts pointing at each other and clapping violently along with the laughing. Just imagine more than a dozen people laughing uncontrollably at each other for no reason at all. Insanity is fun!
5. Just a few yards forward, I see a group of women (probably the wives of those laughing Buddhas) bitching about their son-in-laws and daughter-in-laws as if a competition is going on and the winner is the one who has raised the worst children.
Now since I am unable to think of a line to conclude this, I will now wait to know about more peculiar characters that you see in a park or anywhere else which unfortunately do not come to this park 😀