A Tale of Architecture, Devotion, and Cultural Encounter

Last week, I decided to take a walk around the Humayun Tomb during Hanuman Jayanti, a Hindu festival celebrated in India. It had been years since I visited the site, and I was unsure about the parking situation. When I was a child, my father and I used to ride on his Chetak scooter to visit such historical landscapes, and I would hold on tightly from the back. This time, I decided to take my car, and to my surprise, I found a parking space easily.

It was a beautiful day, and I put on my headphones to listen to Persian folk beats, wanting to make my journey more immersive. As I walked around, I noticed a lot of tourists, including those from East Asia, the UK, and Central Asia, marvelling at the beautiful architecture. I took some pictures for my reference and spent some peaceful time inside the main tomb, where the dynasties were buried.

As I walked around, I noticed a notice board with the name “Nila Gumband,” which means “Blue Dome.” Intrigued, I decided to explore that section as well. I wanted to visit the site to draw the restoration artwork and reimagine the historical site. This has always been my core area of interest.

To my surprise, I was the only visitor there. I saw an old guard sitting there, with a red dot on his forehead, listening to the Hanuman hymns on YouTube. I was fascinated by his devotion and asked him his name. He proudly introduced himself as Bikram Pandey from Bihar.

I asked him how he felt guarding something that nobody was sure of, especially on such an auspicious day. To this, he replied, “It is my duty, sir, and I am here to take care of the area from trespassers.”

As we conversed, we touched upon many topics, from the Modi government to employment rates in India. I also asked him about his future plans after retirement and his thoughts on his religion and the state he came from. The conversation was enlightening, and I realized that small trips with a wandering nature bring joy to life and inform us about how different classes are coping up in current times.

This incident also created a picture of how a philosopher whose tummy is filled with bread can think endlessly about any topic, whereas a man who is living on the edge is hyper-realistic about the world around us.

Just then, a group of rowdy tourists appeared, yelling and disturbing the peace. The guard tried to stop them, but they were not listening. A conflict arose, and I had to intervene to calm them down. Eventually, they left, and the guard thanked me for my help.

This experience taught me that exploring historical sites and having conversations with people from different walks of life can be a very enriching experience. It is essential to appreciate our cultural heritage and take care of it while also understanding the current realities of people who work to preserve it. Small gestures of kindness, such as helping the guard in this situation, can go a long way in creating a more peaceful and harmonious world.


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