City Walk – Atul Grove Road, Central Delhi
A colonial-era slice.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Most of us think of Ruskin Bond as the acclaimed writer who has always, always lived in the mountains.
That’s not entirely true. Now in his eighties, this venerable author spent a slice of his childhood with his English father in a very English bungalow on Atul Grove Road.
This evening The Delhi Walla is strolling down that road while musing just a bit: Would Mr Bond find it all very familiar?
Atul Grove Road in central Delhi is lined with leisurely colonial brick homes that have their own driveways, spacious porches and, of course, blooming gardens: the sort of homes you’re likely to find featured in coffee-table books about the British Raj.
One truly amazing sight is of a giant tree trunk making its way through the bungalow’s brick wall. How astonishing that such houses have survived to this day, and the wonder magnifies when you see the Connaught Place highrises looming menacingly behind these relics.
Colonial administrators are long gone, of course. These days the dwellers are mainly MPs and senior government officers who savour the restful atmospherics. Mainly because the avenue is so very quiet, save for the chirping birds.
Knowing a good thing, more than a few auto-rickshaw drivers take their afternoon naps right here.
Further along, I spot a sprawling red building with curved arches and spacious corridors — the home of postal and telegraph employees. It looks just like the famous Sujan Singh Park complex near Khan Market where Khushwant Singh used to live.
Out there on the lawn, a woman is drying her hair, a young man is staring at me from a balcony, and a brown dog is snoozing on the rutty driveway.
Comfy domesticity: that’s Atul Grove Road, way back then and without doubt, even now.
Ruskin Bond’s addreess