City Monument – Toy Qutub Minar, Mahipalpur
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Next time your flight lands at Delhi airport, look outside carefully from the aircraft window. Moments before the plane’s wheels hit the runway, you are likely to spot the iconic Shiv Murti in Mahipalpur. Immediately afterwards, you will spot the much smaller Qutub Minar.
But, isn’t Qutub Minar very tall? Isn’t it in Mehrauli?
Well, this is a miniature model of Qutub Minar. If three Amitabh Bachchans stand on top of one another, then their human tower will easily eclipse the peak of Mahipalpur’s Qutub.
The Minar is at the centre of a grassy tree-filled roundabout, across the highway from a 5-star hotel. This sunny blue afternoon, some people are lazily sprawling on the warm grass as though they were holidayers in the French Riviera. Some are asleep. Some are having lunch. If you fix your gaze on any one person, you shall inevitably see the dummy Qutub in an intimate vicinity to them.
Most folks here are alone. Some must be the courier delivery men, for they are slouched beside their huge bags.
A man towards the gate is arguing loudly on his mobile phone, his face is wet with tears. Even if people watching is not your thing, it is easy to while away time here. All you have to do is lie down on the grass, and watch the planes arrive and leave the Delhi skyline.
Or you may watch the endless procession of cars speeding along the adjacent flyover — it is as calming as watching an animated screen saver on the laptop.
Since the traffic sound pulsates with a steady hum, it never gets irritating. Otherwise, the park is marooned in silence. You don’t even hear the birds sing, though one large nest is perched on the higher branches of a bare tree.
Now an elderly man arrives with his two grandchildren — a girl and a boy. Hailing from Rangpuri village just beside the flyover, they sit down right next to the mini Qutub. The grandfather begins to tell a story. The Minar too appears to be all ears.
In the shadow of history