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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lothal

Not many people were excited when I told them that I was leaving for Lothal. They said it's a boring place, with nothing, just a few broken structures. That's it!

That's it?

I reached the digging site at around 12pm. It was hot. I kept standing there.

As a student of class 6th, I had studied about the Indus Valley civilisation for the first time. For the first time, I came across the names of the cities Mohen-jo-daro, Dholavira and Lothal. It was a magical world. A civilisation, which was one of the first in the world. Extremely well-planned and advanced. Two of these cities were in Gujarat. I had never lived in Gujarat and I had no relative from the state. So, these places, for me were as exciting and as adventurous as a fairyland...may be like Antarctica or the Egyptian pyramids. Harappa culture was quite far from me, or at least that's what my NCERT said!

I kept standing there. It was hot and the site looked beautiful. Exactly the way it looked in my class 6 NCERT book. I could not move. Something similar had happened to me when I had seen the Thar and the Taj Mahal for the first time. It was incredible!

Yes, there was nothing there. But still there was everything. I could imagine how a civilisation blossomed about 5000 years ago at the same spot. I walked ahead and I saw the citadel, where the upper-class of the town lived. I saw the lower town. I could imagine kids running around in the same location, with their mothers calling them for lunch.
And today, 5000 years later, I was standing there, all alone with that hot breeze making me think.

A lot has been written about the Indus Valley civilisation. One of the reports say that half-cooked food and similar indications were found, which state that the town had fled at the fear of either an intruding army or a natural calamity. And there I was, standing at that very point.

Quietly, I sat down on one of the walls. Someone must have built that wall thousands of years ago, for his family or may be his civilisation. I touched the 5000 year old brick, which might have had the lost finger prints of the man/woman who made it, or the kids who sat on it, or the old men who leaned on it. A civilisation, which we could never see. It's just these marks or artifacts which take us to them. And that remarkable Harappa town plans, the big reservoir for the community. Wow! It was all barren and lonely.

I agree with all my friends who had said that there is nothin there. But I found it exciting because that 'nothing-ness' of the place told a story of EVERYTHING that was...
A rich civilisation...

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