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The locked house


Colonial Building

A Colonial building in a Mughal Garden Complex, living amid ruins of the Revolt of 1857, locked and forgotten, except by park officials and evening joggers.

For whom was it built? Why is it locked away? What lies behind those red stone walls?


nanopoblano2015lightThis is post #3 in this year’s NaBloPoMo, or as Ra calls it Nano Poblano

NaBloPoMo = National Blog Posting Month = Thirty straight days of blogging

Thanks a bunch to all the cheering peppers who have been tweeting and liking posts across WordPress πŸ™‚

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Stories

Broken


My grandmother often says that of the several artistic abilities our family possesses, the ability to throw, is the one that we need the most! At our home, when things break, our instinctive reaction is that of fixing them. So for this week’s photo challenge, broken, I had quite a few options at home! Except, of course, they had mostly been fixed, or have become something else. For instance, the beads from several broken bracelets and necklaces have now become a gypsy-style garland. And all the broken seashells from our collections have now become a decorative wall hanging.

* * *

We were in Old Delhi to meet relatives and decided to explore Qudsia Bagh in the evening. Clean jogging tracks surrounded by palm trees and Laburnums in full bloom, the park was a sight for sore eyes and sun-drained explorers like us. Large pots of water and benches with bird feed attracted birds by the dozen.

“What are you waiting for? Take out the camera!” It took me a little while to react. My brother nudged me as I stared at a kite sitting atop the earthen pot. Before I could take a clean shot, it flew above us and onto a tree branch. Another one swooped down and flew low, before joining its friend on the branch. They didn’t seem to mind the people around them — little children swinging on monkey bars and groups of evening walkers.

We continued walking, and it wasn’t long before we spotted a wall behind a few trees. An old building! After several months, we discovered something old in Delhi. An entrance gate of some sort, with a staircase on the side leading up to the roof; an old locked up lodge that seemed appropriate for some mystery novel; and a mosque under renovation — we hopped from one building to another, trying to cover as much ground as possible in the little time we had left in the day. But with daylight fading and our stomachs grumbling, we had to head back.

As we were returning, I noticed this minaret-like structure. It turned out to be at the exact same place we saw the kites earlier. In our excitement of seeing the kites, I’d missed this one entirely.

Minaret at Qudsia Bagh
Minaret at Qudsia Bagh

I clicked a few more photographs of the park just as a peacock came out for its evening walk.

We may go and visit Qudsia Bagh again. We might climb the gate, inspect that old house more closely, and perhaps, find more treasures.


From Wikipedia: Qudsia Bagh is an 18th-century garden complex and palace located in Old Delhi, India. Constructed in 1748 for Qudsia Begum, this complex was largely destroyed during the Indian rebellion of 1857.

For more broken images, visit the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Broken

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Stories

The Rare One


If the value of the three paisa coin has appreciated, then I am perhaps responsible for the fortunes of another girl πŸ˜€

Coin Album
Coin Album With An Index

I loved collecting coins as a kid. I’m not sure when and how it began. Perhaps it was the discovery of a small bag of coins at home, or a few foreign ones left behind by visiting relatives. At first, it was restricted to ten paisa coins and cents – we had an abundant supply of them.

As word spread of my interest in coins, friends and family members, who had been travelling abroad, generously donated currency. I was even given a coin album. It had clear plastic sheets with small pockets to store individual coins. I arranged my coins and added small notes about the country, year, and the symbol and slogans on the coins.

Three Paise
Three Paisa Coin

I had big plans! I thought the collection would grow very large. So using my foresight, I made an index of the countries and currencies to manage the treasure.

I even began keeping coins and notes, which were still in use – I was a ten-year old, and I was already investing in currency!

Close Up Of Page
Close Up Of Page

Even as different countries resided within my book, I discovered coins in my own home – one, two, and three paisa coins. I had only one one-paisa coin. But I was more delighted with the three paisa coins. Three was an unusual denomination for a coin, and I took pride in owning two of them!

I spent nothing, and yet owned a lot. My successful collection, soon got to my head. I boasted about the large variety of coins I possessed – far more than I should have. Once, I even took some coins to school, as proof. And that’s when it happened.

A classmate of mine was very impressed with my coins. She asked, in the nicest possible way, ‘Can I take one of these?’

And like a fool, I gave it to her. To this day, I regret that action. I could have traded it for something else – but no! I had to act magnanimous. That’s what happens when you allow ten-year olds to handle so much money!

One Paisa
Holy Coin! One Paisa

A few years later, deep within the depths of my eldest aunt’s huge cupboard, I uncovered a gem – the 1 pice coin. It was older than the Indian democracy, and it had a hole in it! Nothing could have been better than that.

I’m sure there are lots of people who collect coins – and would buy old coins like the one with the hole. In old Delhi, I found coin sellers selling such antique coins on the pavement. The realisation, that the coins I had, were all gifted to me, made me feel great. But my coin collecting days were numbered.

The European Union was formed, and I grew up. The album was relegated to the cupboard, and my collection, nothing more than a lost memory.

A chance discovery of some coins in a piggy bank made me pull out my album, and I found that my foresight was rather too great. I had one, two, and five rupee coins and notes stashed up inside – which I could still use today! Time to add the ten rupee coins I suppose πŸ˜€

*  *  *

I had posted some photographs of coins a few weeks back. One of my favourite bloggers, pointed out the scarcity of the three paisa coin… This story was supposed to be a part of that post, but now, is also in response to that comment, and today’s prompt on The Daily Post!

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Hobbies

Around The World – Without Going There!


Foreign Coins.
Some from another country, others, from another time!

Weekly Photo Challenge – Foreign

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Stories

The Old, Beneath The New


A gallery tour of Ugrasen ki Baoli – not really on a tourist’s itinerary. But then, not even locals are aware of its presence!

Ugrasen ki Baoli

Delhi has been loved, and loathed, by people for centuries. She has been built, razed to the ground, and rebuilt, by the same people who destroyed her.

The city has always been the favourite city of successive rulers. The proof of their love, lies in the monuments they constructed, that are spread across the city. Most of the newer buildings were constructed at the site of older structures. So the Fort of Rai Pithora, was razed to the ground, only for the Qutub Minar to be built.

Purana Qila (Old Fort) was built by Humayun, only to be destroyed by Sher Shah Suri. Sher Shah built his own capital at that site, only for Humayun to return! But even before the battles between these kings, an ancient civilization existed there – excavations of objects and pottery dating back to 1000 BC proving the antiquity of the Fort.

Besides the most obvious monuments, there are several smaller ones – those that are not on a tourist’s itinerary. They are hidden from public view. Even locals, never fully explore the city. To peel away the different layers of the city, requires more than just a few days. To understand what makes immigrants fall in love with the city, requires more than a lifetime.

In our quest to explore the ‘other’ side of Delhi, a few of us visited a baoli.

A baoli is a step-well, unique to the desert regions of western India. Ugrasen ki Baoli, is just off the main road near Connaught Place (Rajiv Chowk), at the heart of Delhi.

A short walk from the Barakhamba Metro station led us to the walls of the baoli. It looked like any other stone wall we’d seen, until we stepped inside. We collectively gasped at the sight in front of us – a long flight of steps leading to the bottom of the well.

There were scores of pigeons happily going about their daily lives, unaware of their historical home; a few groups of people, wanting to ‘hang out’ together; and one youth, working on his laptop, seeking refuge from the harsh heat!

We descended the stairs, to be welcomed by a very strong odour and screeching sounds. We looked up from the bottom of the well, to the ceiling of the tower – bats. We climbed up the stairs faster than we had descended!

The old, the new, and the pigeons – The three elements that define Delhi – A gallery tour

Related Links:
My friend who introduced the baoli to me, posted a few photographs on one of his posts too. Do check them out here.