“Ouagadougou” is not what you shout when a dog bites you, did you know it is some town you can visit in Africa. I came to know about this recently when another fact sank in. The world map is synonymous with geography, and monuments apparently with history. Subjects in high school and my favourites that too. Somehow it all stopped there. Science ate me up, if that is to be considered as a plausible excuse. Most of you may have one. Remember the old saying “Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it” in this case we ruin it. If it was just about graffiti and litter something could be done, it is the lack of knowing about such things that is more bothering and contributes to all the dilapidation that we create.
We will throw all the money to have our treks or see all our historical architectures but will never try to know about or understand that there is more to nature or a heritage site after all. The skyscrapers and flyovers make our world. And expeditions elsewhere happen when there is this feeling” I need a break” Eight out of ten pack our bags from home with this in the head, more than for the love towards a place. To top it all conservation and preservation are some small dressings on our self inflicted wounds. Some do it but greater responsibility does not come only with awareness, if that was the case everyone would.
All this I heard from an old man I met at the Qutub, while everyone was busy going awe and trying to fit the tall tower in one frame, he was in a corner sitting cross legged on a stone with hands under his chin observing us all. The sweet oddity in his posture and my interest in it led to our conversation. He told me much about the place that no guide would. I was glad that I did not walk away from this talkative stranger the moment he started it all off. For once I found someone who made some sense in a crowd.
Life goes on in a way that we eagerly are waiting for the twenty first of this month. Such is the quality of curiosity that fuels our ideologies. The end by the way followed the beginning long ago. ‘As slow as possible’ as John Cage’s piece is on. 2640 is when that music shall end or so it is said. We have enough kindness on us as a matter of fact, more than what we deserve. And still we say there are seven wonders in this world, there is more to it. If you can survive in them more than just see them I guess that is what will make the tourist in us a traveller.