Thursday, December 29, 2011

What Does A Monument Stand For?

Earlier this month, my friends had stayed over at our place in Delhi. Over the weekend, we went out for a bit of sight seeing and one of the places we visited was India Gate. It was very crowded and noisy but the monument itself was very impressive. We walked around it, took pictures and read the inscriptions - the usual touristy things. From there, we went on to have lunch and visit other places. All in all, a fun day!

I have been passing by India Gate for almost a year and a half now as it falls on the way to work. There is a traffic signal bang opposite it and after a couple of days after our visit there, I had to stop for the signal. I turned to look at India Gate and I started remembering our little trip, the jokes we cracked and the awesome lunch that followed it. A few days back,  while having a late lunch with a friend at a restaurant overlooking the Hauz Khas tank, I described to him the history of the place. Basically, a few snippets that I remembered from the heritage walk my parents and I had participated in (October).  

That is when it struck me - while Hauz Khaz was built as a Royal Tank by the Khilji dynasty and the India Gate stands as a war memorial; for me, these monuments are symbolic beyond their history. They also signify the great times that I was lucky to share with people who are important to me.

I must confess that I then went into a bit of an overdrive in trying to recollect other places that would qualify as a ‘monument’, to the extent that I labeled the country of Sri Lanka as a monument to one of the most romantic getaways that my wife and I have had (she would say we haven't had too many). That one week of superb hotels, peaceful beaches, lovely meals will always stand out for me. The list is long - Mysore place with my in-laws, places in Calcutta with all relatives before the wedding - I can go on and on.

I wonder if the Kings of yore realised that when they built these superb structures, somebody somewhere in the future will be thanking them, while carving their own personal moments around them. Until the next ‘monument’ trip then....