Doesn’t the hustle-bustle of Chandni Chowk excite you? It does right. It comes out and shines for the dancing charade of people. Despite having a crowd face, it still estranges itself from the monotony of city life. You enter. You see. You observe and you believe the colorful pretense it offers. It is that point where one can move towards different religious roads from and can come back again if it seems futile a journey. In short, an escape for enthusiasts and a home for weary souls.
But have you ever tried to unveil that colorful mask? Let us shift our focus to a little left, a little beyond. See through these bangles. Just another step away from these floral garments.
Take a long walk. Into the dark alleys of Ballimaran. Towards the engrossed meanders in Gali Qasim, and witness this unknown yet really existing structure. Indeed, Ghalib ki Haveli. How awful is to witness such a peace, a silence amidst the bells!
Mirza Ghalib is one of the greatest Urdu poets in this world. He had spent most of his life in this haveli. In fact, till this date, its aura stretches hands towards all the Urdu poetry lovers and demands an exploration. The most shattering thing about it being absent from the gaze of people clearly shows that Urdu poetry no longer pleases us.
Now, Let us foreground all the hidden dimensions of this structure. The haveli has turned into a museum for the local and foreign tourists. The absolute relief is its free entry. You may witness a caretaker sitting at the very gate, who you can totally rely upon.
Upon entering, the aromatic Urdu poetry surely will penetrate your soul with rejoicing. It leads to a room where you can find a Ghalib’s statue in the middle. One of the side walls has his clothes hung up and the other holds the pictures of his beautiful excerpts. A long piece of wood has been tied to the sides of the walls for light work. It has got so many pigeons sitting upon it, having their ‘softgoods‘ echoing among the silence.
This room leads to the corridor where Ghalib must have spent his teenage days. The blemished walls on sides incorporate the pictures of his writings and his life as a poet, as a person. One of the pictures captures his dainty yet unacknowledged days of ‘Mushairas’ and ‘Mehfils‘. It also provides an outlook of his being involved with a courtesan, that he claimed to love in one of his memoirs:
“There are times even now when the memory of her charming ways come back to me and I shall not forget her death as long as I live.”
One can witness all his manuscripts of Urdu and Persian poetry, being protected under the glass frames.
On the other side of the corridor, there are some compartments hidden behind curtains. These help us discover his ways of living. A statue of his sitting in a relaxed position having a hookah says a lot about his being an alcoholic. There is a marble game that he used to play during his leisure time along with a shelf that has some of his published books.
Once Ghalib had said:
“Today none buys my verse’s wine, that it may grow in age
My poetry will win the world’s acclain when I am gone.”
(Taken from Ralph Russell’s Ghalib: A self portrait)
This last wish of his still remains unfulfilled. A visit to this place not only will make him exist in this world but also his poetry will live forever.
So, Give your travel book a new place and discover, Mirza Ghalib ki Haveli. This would definitely give this silent structure, some voice…