City Hangout – People Watching, Green Park Parket
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Here’s a setting resembling a peculiar collage one doesn’t see anywhere else in Delhi.
By simply parking myself on one of those comfy benches at Green Park market The Delhi Walla is transformed into a shameless voyeur watching a surreal world parading past.
Grannies in worn cardigans rub shoulders with hipsters sporting hi-fi hairdos.
You spot a closer encounter between a young couple — the lad crooning a Hindi love song — and a man jogging past in comfortably fitted Bermuda shorts and a monkey cap.
All credit for sustaining this kind of human ecosystem is the market’s unusually broad sidewalk — rare in Delhi and so intimate — but nobody seems to appreciate this gift.
It’s like hanging around in the Malgudi market square in RK Narayan’s fictional world where everybody knows everybody else.
Our sidewalk is more cosmopolitan than Malgudi’s. A barista serving coffee on the sidewalk is dressed in traditional dhoti and kurta.
Then there’s that shop selling quaint DVDs, not far from a stationery store with a fax machine. A workshop further down the sidewalk not only repairs TVs but also old radios. There’s also a clinic hawking “body contouring” and “anti-aging” services. And between a henna parlour and an empty bench stands a shakarkandi seller, with an elegant white-haired woman as his sole customer at that moment.
Aware that such people-watching luxury isn’t available in most Delhi bazaars, I just go on slouching idly, perusing the citizenry: a pursuit as engaging as any Netflix show.