This particular heritage walk was unusual. The audience was 9-10 year old kids who had come to Lodi Garden to celebrate their friend, Arhan Vohra’s birthday. Everyone had questions to ask even before the walk started; some had done their homework and collected information about the monuments they were to see. So they often ended up answering each others’ questions…each arguing to defend their own version of the story. Historically correct or not, these kids are rich with imagination. They could see secret passages in corners, palaces & courts in ruins, secret codes in calligraphy…imagination is indeed a wonderful gift. One hopes and wishes that this gift is not lost on their path to adulthood. Everyone admired the decoration in the mosque but was critical of the graffiti left on the walls engraved by lovers, perhaps seeking to immortalize their names. Such a sensibility is admirable. Everyone present promised never to deface monuments. The graves in Shish Gumbad were extremely fascinating: one had a garland around it, probably left by someone wishing to pay respect to the dead; there was a child’s grave too. Next was a story-weaving game based on the heritage walk. The sheer variety of themes woven by these youngsters & the characters they made up is incredible: Lodi kings, their courts, their dancing girls, wars, secret codes, detectives to crack the secret codes, armies, peace, even Gandhi, Sherlock Holmes and Albert Einstein!
(posted by Rajesh Ranjan & Kanika Singh, team members, Delhi Heritage Walks)