City Hangout – Midnight in Nehru Place, South Delhi
A poetic world.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Have you noticed how some places evoke different feelings at night and in the day? Take Nehru Place. Nobody would go to that business district for aesthetic reasons. The concrete block teems with crowds, offices and shops stocked with laptops and mobile phones. You can’t walk without stepping on the pavement stalls, and you can’t hear yourself think.
But The Delhi Walla asks you to come here at midnight — that’s when Nehru Place is sheer poetry. A few days ago, I reached there a few minutes after zero hour and found a different world.
The vast plazas were empty. The sky was clear and the moon shone majestically over the darkened buildings, which looked more like shadows. A few figures walked past us like discreet jinns. They were night-shift guards.
Everything was quiet except for what sounded like radio songs wafting through the humid air. These were actually hits from movies that a few bored security guards, sitting outside the shuttered showrooms, were watching on their cellphones. The flickering screens looked like the glowing eyes of a jungle cat.
Finally, I stepped into a corridor that is blocked by street vendors during the day, and there I did something unthinkable. I began to dance, quietly. It was nothing special, just a flinging around of arms and legs. I was sure nobody was watching. It was still Nehru Place, and it was freedom.
After the zero hour