Smallish more critical lanes in its big heart beat indifferently, till you let yourself lose control, hold hands, following poets. In squalor, history, and Ballimaran. Parts of it often touched, altered over years.
A rare passerby feigns surprise at the mention of a paltry lane you remember from newspaper memory. Hawkers and rickshaw-wallahs try luring you to lanes of royal cuisines facing large Masjid courtyards with pigeons. You hold your own, decided not to lose to temptation. The accomplice starts doubting your discrete sense of non-direction, allowing for amusement, a private joke or two. Increasingly, the journey starts yielding meaning.
Par mein jaagu, ek khumari,
Ek nasha sa, ek nasha sa ho raha hai,
Tu magar hai bekhabar, hai bekhabar
Finally, the old gentleman with a small cap and an experienced beard, makes sense of Qasim Jaan, even going ahead and connecting the dots. Your touristy inquisitiveness attracts his need to share worldly wisdom. You take a step backwards, and take the small unsure right. Take a deep breath and face it.
If the poet’s sonnets ended in a white marbled bust, you only amuse yourself, by random chances, recounting events, that would probably only mean something after everything is long gone. And it’s only human, historically too, to not realise its worth while it’s there. After all, isn’t the most celebrated love, somehow, lost?
PS: Lyrically, Dilli 6