City Monument – Black & White Ruins, Around Town
The dream images.
[By Mayank Austen Soofi]
Last night The Delhi Walla dreamt Delhi again. It seemed to me I was in Chausath Khamba. The Jehangir-era monument seemed to have taken leave of its colors. The white daylight streamed in through white marble screens. The black shadow of a grey pillar fell on the grey floor and merged with other black shadows.
In my dream, I then walked to the nearby dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. The street wound away in front of me, turning and twisting as it had always done, but as I advanced I was aware that it was not the same place; there were hardly any people in these narrow alleys. Puzzled, I kept walking and passed like a djinn through the walls of the sufi shrine. There was only one pilgrim. The empty courtyard looked forlorn. Minutes later, I sighted a few more silhouettes.
Then, as could occur only in dreams, I acquired supernatural powers and floated towards Jama Masjid in the north.
Where had all the pigeons gone? Why was the sky cloudless? The sprawling courtyard was peopled with only two men.
Safdarjang’s tomb was similarly barren. The piece of water was dry. Raising the eyes, I saw clouds whose shapes were edged in pointed patterns.
In Mehrauli, there was no iron railing around the smooth iron pillar.
The next destination was Lahori Gate at Red Fort. A brown man in white was looking down at the grass-covered moat. Above, the flagpole at the top of the ramparts was unclothed.
All these places I was passing through in my sleep looked beautiful, cold and lifeless.
Then, in my dream, I dreamed of a Delhi that was colorful, crowded and dirtier, and which could have a place for me, too.
A different Delhi
1. Clock tower and Town Hall, Chandni Chowk
2. Delhi Gate, Red Fort
3. Hazrat Nizamuddin’s Dargah
4. Jama Masjid
5. Hazrat Nizamuddin’s Dargah and Atgah Khan’s tomb (on the right)
6. Hazrat Nizamuddin’s Dargah
7. Hazrat Nizamuddin’s Dargah and Jamat Khana mosque
8. Hazrat Nizamuddin’s Dargah
9. Iron Pillar, Qutub Minar complex
10. Qutub Minar and Smith’s Folly
11. Safdarjang’s Tomb
11. A distant view of Jama Masjid
12. Lahore Gate, Red Fort
13. Jama Masjid
14. Mirza Jahangir’s Tomb, Hazrat Nizamuddin’s Dargah
15. A view of Delhi from Jama Masjid, circa 1860