I have a close friend who is fond of travelling. Every time we meet our conversation turns to making plans of prospective journeys to interesting places. We love making plans so much that sometimes it seems it is all that we do. We can never have too many plans at once. Why it was just the other day that we planned a week long vacation to Andaman islands. And in the week before we decided that we wanted to go to that famous hill station in West Bengal, Darjeeling. It is not easy to come up with a location that suits both of us so it is hard work figuring out new places to go. We feel satisfied after making these plans. It feels like a job well done.
When it comes to execution of plans, at the risk of sounding immodest, I must say I am more active. I am not a morning person but at one time I knocked on my friend's door at 5 AM with packed suitcase all ready to leave. My friends expression suggested to me that he was neither ready nor going. His tone suggested to me that he was slightly annoyed at me for disturbing him in the wee hours of the morning. His excuse that a plan is not finalized until the railway tickets are booked sounded rather weak to me.
Booking of train tickets is a very stressful activity and one that I try to avoid at all costs. You must book a train at least a week in advance. If your plans coincide with a national holiday you will be lucky to score a reservation. You could try to book an emergency ticket from the railway station but unless you plan to sleep at the station the night before don't expect to succeed in your endeavor.
Which is why I suggested to take a bus. My friend looked at me as though I was a drug addict high on last night's dose. I tried to explain to him that bus rides can actually be fun and we can stop at stations and explore places before reaching our destination, but my plea fell on deaf ears. I left disappointed.
Late in the afternoon my friend called me and told me to meet him in half and hour at the metro station. I was still a bit angry with him but I had nothing better to do so I reached the station at the appointed time. He said that we were going the Hauz Khas Village. Hauz Khas is a 20 minute ride from the MGF metro station. I knew that there were some interesting historical monuments to see, but I had never been there before so I said yes.
I was hoping that my friend would have researched about the location so I asked him what we were supposed to do there but I only got ambiguous replies such as " a good crowd" and "nice atmosphere". At the Hauz khas metro station we hired an auto that dropped us in the village.
The village did have a good atmosphere, I must admit. The buildings were brightly colored. There were a few nice looking restaurants .There were curiosity shops all around. It felt cozy and inviting to me. The highlight of the place was (according to wikipedia) the Hauz Khas Complex, which enclosed a water tank (more like a small lake), a mosque , a college and a tomb, dating back to the 13th century. Unlike most other historical places in Delhi the Hauz Khas complex had no entry fees.
After reading the inscription on the stone tablet at the gate we went inside the complex. We were greeted by lush greenery and silent old buildings. Whenever I visit old places like these I am astounded by the fact that even centuries later these structures remain. It fills me with immense respect for those architects who designed these buildings. Since I have no knowledge of architecture I could not admire the finer details and the nuances of these buildings but I could make out that lot of thought must have been put into designing them.
Most of the people within the complex were college students busy taking pictures. I guess that was what my friend meant with "nice crowd". Like most historical monuments in Delhi the walls of buildings in Hauz Khas complex was turned into a canvas of self expression. You could find everything from marriage proposals to amateur self advertisement inscribed upon them. The complex is a small place and it does not take more than an hour to see all that it has to offer , unless you want to study every detail, but there is a lot more to see in the village besides the complex.
So we set out to our next destination, the Deer park. It was within walking distance from the complex. We stopped by an art gallery on the way. What drew my attention to it was not the beautiful paintings but the wonderful scent of the oil paint that came from within it. The scent reminded me of my failed attempts as a kid to draw. And when I say draw I mean drawing on the canvas. As a kid it always seemed to be the hardest part. I could mix the colors all right but somehow they always ended up on my shirt. At times tried to brush it off but it used to make the matters worse. Seeing those beautiful paintings in the shop I made a promise to myself that I am going to take another stab at drawing one of these days.
The road to deer park is scattered with such shops. Some selling paintings, others woodwork and I am sure I even saw vinyl records in one shop! I need to go back there and see if they sell those.
At the deer park we expected to see deers and boy we were not disappointed. There were deers all over that place. In fact I am pretty sure that they were the only creatures besides humans that lived in that there. On our way I saw a child, he was maybe 4 or 5, who seemed pretty excited to see all the deers. He gestured at them, called them and made faces at them but he was largely ignored. I guess deers are pretty cold.
It was close to sunset by this time and we decided to head back. On our way back we made a few more plans for a few more trips.