The lights flashed in my eyes and the doctors asked me to relax. I was in the operation theatre, on the bed. Before I blanked out for hours, I was glad that I visited many landmarks around the city.
Everybody has been to Delhi. Everybody, I can assure you. If I write something about Delhi, international tourists who have visited Delhi will identify the places I am going to talk about. I had been to Delhi for a serious reason. My surgery date was due and I had to be there before the allotted date. Before going into mental oblivion for a long time, I wanted to take a tour of Delhi. The streets are super crowded but systematic unlike my home town. My grandaunt provided us with a car and a chauffeur to take us around and I was happy with the arrangements. After a long drive, the car was nearing the Lotus Temple. It is beautiful if you see it for real because I had only seen it in text books. The structure was massive. There were foreigners who volunteered for hospitality management and they did the task well of welcoming us. I was surprised at their genuine interest. The beautiful Bahá’í House of worship has a fantastic interior and a cool temperature maintained inside. I was so engrossed admiring the state-of-art walls that the guide’s words fell on deaf ears. There is a massive man-made pond that surrounds the glamorous temple. My mother clicked numerous snaps of me sitting by the pond. The tourists continued to visit during the day. Later, I tried drawing this structure but I could not get the angles accurate. So I gave up this pursuit but I would try it again, someday later.
After another long drive, we were taken to the Qutab Minar. It is a massive, tall and an ancient structure. Tourists were thronging the place and the guards were outside the entrance of the Minar. My father told me a story as I raised my head up to see the apex.
“When I was little, I had come to see this Qutab Minar. Back then, we were allowed to climb inside the Minar and I went all the way up to the top. After that, a tragic incident occurred. A group of students came to visit the Minar during their excursion. The stairway was not lit up well. Accidently, a student tripped and fell on many others. Consequently, they fell on the ones behind and some fell off as there was no boundary. They died. Ever since, the tourist we were given access only till the first floor.”
I felt bad for a minute and went to the guard sitting nearby. I asked him if he had been at the top. He smiled and said “yes”. As we walked away from the main Minar, I encountered another unfinished Minar called the Ali Minar. It was a Minar made to compete with the Qutab Minar. It was fascinating because it was unfinished and the concrete had dried up the way it was. It looked like a Minar that had been slapped concrete in a haphazard manner. It did not cease to interest me.
We took a long route and stopped on the way at Barista Coffee House. We halted at Jantar Mantar and I was pleased to find the surroundings serene. The structure was unique because it was built to predict the times and movements of the sun, moon and the stars. The environment was well maintained. The garden was in full bloom because it was March and some couples who did not want to be noticed lay behind the trees. I felt it was unnecessary to show affections in and around structure of historical importance. I wanted people to maintain the dignity of the place, if not personal dignity. The front view looks like a reversed heart shape but as you inspect the structure, you will marvel at the advanced design that the people thought of in 1724. I have a personal interest in astronomy and so the Jantar Mantar impressed me.
In the noon time, we visited the Red Fort. The Red Fort has a major historical importance. The creativity of Shah Jahan leaves you speech bound. This fort has an intricate history behind it that amazes national and international tourist alike. Before, during 15th August, the Prime Minister would hoist the Indian flag at the apex and deliver speech that would arouse patriotism in the audience. Today, the fort houses museums and souvenir shops inside. The fort still has its old charm.
Remembering Mahatma Gandhi on the way, we went to Rajghat. The only beautiful thing about the place was that it was blanketed in flowers and greenery. There is a bridge that connects one side to the other. The area is massive. In between all the natural beauty, a black marble platform marks the spot where the great leader was cremated. A lamp is placed on the marble platform inside which the eternal flames burn consistently. They say that the flames are never replenished with oil or any substance but it does not convince me. After taking photographs, we strolled around the aesthetically pleasing paths that were flanked by flowers.
As dusk showed up, we were at the India gate and I was tired. I don’t know why but we always visit the India Gate during dusk. People around were selling flags and eatables. On the walls of the Gate, the names of the martyrs are inscribed to appreciate their patriotic gestures during the war of independence. The structure looked grand as I stood some feet away and admired it. All the commotion fell silent for me as I stood there and stared at the India Gate. The sun was setting behind. As we were heading home, we went past the Supreme Court and I really wished we could visit it someday.
There are too many historical structures in Delhi that I did not visit. I kept them for some other time. I promised myself that I would come back for more. As the anesthesia was administered inside me, I fell into a deep, unconscious slumber and the surgery commenced.