It stands there with its veneer of rude decay and abusive repair. Peeling paint, carelessly applied white wash, cracked and broken jalis (screens), gently leaning wooden doors held in place by rusting hinges, and large areas of carelessly applied cement to repair gaps in its walls. Sitting low to the ground, the mausoleum appears to slump towards the earth, a posture reminiscent of soul realizing death and waiting for it. Shanties surround it, and thorn covered bushes garland it from all sides. Refuse and waste dance in the wind on its patios, and bird droppings decorate the perfectly round forms of its nine domes. The angry scars of time and neglect cover its entire surface…and yet it is beautiful.
It is a beauty that emanates defiantly through its outer humiliations. Its symmetry of form, its geometry of proportions and its scale so human that they together perform a magic trick on the human eye, convincing it to see only its elegance. It stands as if drawn into the landscape, its filigree jalis and near perfect arches, a result of a lover’s hands and not merely an architects calculations. It seems to say, we were young once, and we are still radiant.
2 April 2011 Bhuj, Gujarat