Photo Essay – Sunset Hour in Delhi
The city softened.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
When the sun is going down, you must leave the company of other people to be with yourself.
Go and stand under the Barakhamba traffic light in Connaught Place. Look towards N-Block. The sky is streaked with shades of orange. The white corridors and balconies of the Middle Lane are merging with the gathering blackness. The pedestrians standing around you, waiting for the light to turn green so that they can cross the road, are losing their three-dimensional solidity and turning to papery shadows. The buses and cars are moving in a slow motion. You feel like being inside a surreal art-house movie.
Or, go to Humayun’s Tomb and watch the sunset standing in front of the Afsarwalla makbara, an unknown tomb. Not the principal attraction in the monument complex, the ruin’s desolation harmonizes with that of the dusk.
Or, go to Vijay Chowk and walk towards Rashtrapati Bhawan, the President’s residence. Standing close to the gate, you will find the sun trying to hide behind the Bhawan’s walls.
Or, go to the departure lounge of Delhi Airport, and watch the planes taking off to their destinations, from the terminal’s viewing gallery, which looks to the western sky. The boeings seem to fly straight into the dying sun.
Or, go to a friend’s terrace in Kalkaji and try measuring the scope of her loneliness as she silently watches the city lights.
Or, go to Jama Masjid with Ahmed Ali’s novel Twilight in Delhi and read its final passage.
He lay on the bed in a state of coma, too feelingless to sit up or think. The sun went down and hid his face. The rooks cawed and flew away. The sparrows found their nests. And night came striding fast, bringing silence in its train, and covered up the empires of the world in its blankness of darkness and gloom…
Sardar Patel Marg
Hauz Khas Village
Outside Humayun’s Tomb
Afsarwalla Tomb and Mosque