[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It is a beautiful nothing.
Chhoti Gumti in South Delhi’s Green Park Colony is of no historic consequence. It is such a tiny Lodhi-era ruin that its survival is a marvel. Perhaps it was an insignificant portion of a much larger structure but nobody can tell. There is no exact historical record of it in any book of monuments.
All the stories that Chhoti Gumti has lost to time, however, has not made it any poorer. It pulsates with modern life. The ruin lies snuggled inside a barricaded garden. People walk past it on their way to the Bobo district of Hauz Khas Village. The bourgeoisie houses of Green Park stand on the back.
In the morning, people could be spotted seated here in picturesque Yoga aasans. During the day, lonesome men lounge lazily on the grass. In the evening, elderly grandparents in the neighborhood arrive with their grandchildren and house servants. The monument is also claimed by lovers. There are two beautifully situated benches in the garden—one lies under the shade of two intertwined trees; the other is conveniently screened with vines.
Sometimes, hormone-charged college-going gangs of friends invade the ruin; they scamper around like happy monkeys.
The more sober travelers should examine the monument from all sides by slowly walking around it. The perspective is beautiful, especially if viewed from each of the four corners. Come in the evening when you are more likely to find pigeons seated on the dome. That’s a sight worth all the evenings spent elsewhere.
A nonsense verse