A Tale Of A City

We visit many places in our life, see some of them, observe even less, remember even lesser. Given a chance, we tend to opt for visiting a new place rather than repeating the same old one. Think about it – last year you have been to Brussels and you are now being given chance to choose between Brussels and Munich – you will choose Munich right? Well, this mentality is not wrong – I also feel the same way. However, there is one place in this world which I would like to visit over and over and over again. I talked about this place to many people – some do not know at all, some have heard sometimes, some know the name but have never visited it. My personal opinion is – if you have not been to this place at least once, you have missed something big in your life. I bet.

In the day time, you look around – you see lush green valleys everywhere. This is no exaggeration – it is greener than the hills you find in the Himachal. The green is not as deep as you find in the tea gardens of Kerala, however its different. It does not soothe you, it intoxicates you instead. I stretched my eyes in the horizon and saw an old, almost – collapsed architecture. The jungle is gulping it down – the big grasses and trees are hugging each other so tight that it does not even allow someone to step inside. The building might not have been visited by any human being in last 100 years. I wanted to go – I asked my guide “can I not go there”?. He replies boringly “usme kuch nahi hai saab. Purane zamane ka mahal hai – ek din nach gaana hota tha. Ab kuch bhi nahi hai”. Really ? I am that close to an abandoned Mughal mahal? This building is not as maintained as the other old famous architectures of this place – which made me even more curious about it. “Aise bahut hain saab – ye pura gaon me aise bahut mahal the. Ab kuch bhi nahi hai”. His voice is low – he does not find anything interesting in few old bricks. Or being a native of this place, he also feels the pain the way I am feeling. Time will gulp it, jungle will gulp it. Gradually one such small tiny piece of history will be eliminated from this earth. I searched in the internet – there is no mention of this mahal. May be the guide did not know either – may be he just said whatever came to his mind. May be, just may be. But in that day, standing in that mystic land, I believed all his words……………….

Sun sets and darkness jumps over the place. In a matter of few minutes, it goes back hundreds of years back. I looked around – there is no one. It’s a dead city – no one dares to come out on the roads. This is not the time for us. This time is reserved for the unsatisfied souls who have been killed in the war. They wanted to live, they wanted to be happy, they wanted to be sad but still they wanted to be here. They have been finished – suddenly, abruptly. I heard their whispers in the air. I ran into my room.

You may think I am exaggerating. May be I am. May be you will get a completely different feeling if you be there. It may appear as a place where still there is no electricity at night. It is still an undeveloped place with few poor people living and few tourists visiting. Yes – there is no facility and that’s the reason it is still holding the same image what it used to bear hundreds of years ago. May be you won’t like it – after evening, you may still be interested in getting back to the only luxury hotel of this place and enjoy “munni badnaam hui” song in the TV. That’s your choice – my choice will still remain with the mystic beauty. I am in love with this place, really.

This is the place which is known in the history as “the city of eternal love”. A rich guy fell in love with a poor girl. They got married and stayed happily for few years. They are still alive in the songs of the local villagers, in the history books, in our mind. Take a drive for 10 minutes and reach another mahal – 16000 queens used to stay here waiting for their once-in-lifetime turn to spend a night with the sultan. How was their life? Did they ever enjoy sunset in the horizon? How did they die? I keep loitering from one room to another, one mahal to another of this old architecture and keep trying to imagine how it all happened.

I was so engrossed in history that I didn’t even notice it was dark. A shrill sound of whistle brought me back to the real world. The watchman wants everyone to be out of this building before dark. Even the guide was restless. I was not happy, but I had to come out. One more day and I will leave this place. Who knows if I will ever come back again or not….but I promise, I will try my level best!!!

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