Qutab Minar

Standing among the ruins
Except for that 72 meter tall structure, everything here is in tatters. Years have caught up with the tombs, Sarai (rest house), madarassa (school) in the compound. But the best part amongst these ruins is that hundreds of visitors there were not ruining the place by littering it with empty water bottles and packets of chips or biscuits. The reason was more of a compulsion than voluntary. Bags – which are the carriers of the ‘litterable’ items were not allowed inside the compound. For a mere Rs 2, you could store your bags in the cloak room, of course at your own risk.

As I went from one broken building to another, I also realized that why the tooti-footi, broken buildings in Europe – like the Colosseum in Rome are a great attraction. These aged, half broken, out of shape ruins are strangely attractive. I am still not able to pin point at the exact reason. The silhouette of an incomplete structure with lush green grass – nicely pruned in front provides a contrast of perfection and flaw. May be that was it. Or maybe the freedom to imagine what it would have been in its prime. What would the madarassa where children used to study look  like. Or how would the place have looked had the Alai Minar been completed. (Alai Minar was meant to be double the size of Qutab Minar but could not be completed).

Outside, a man who looked like a senior cleric of a mosque nearby was painting a picture to my imagination of the glorious past. He was sitting outside on a chair laughing and talking to his mobile. All the while, two kids, aged around 10 stood on either side of him waving hand-fans at him assuaging him of the heat on a sunny May afternoon. It would have been the same in the time of the kings who built the Minar. Except that I don’t think kids would have been at the job of being the Fan for the Raja.

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