City Hangout – Central Park, Defence Colony
Public garden anthropology.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Cool breeze and chirpy birds. Two morose seeming lovers. A man lying flat on the grass. Such are the scenes of an ordinary afternoon in Central Park. Built upon what used to be a stinky drain, this public garden in South Delhi’s upscale Defence Colony (DefCol) is a long stretch of lawn flanked on both sides with beautiful houses that only a few of us can afford.
Right now the place isn’t really teeming with many people, perhaps the crowd will come a little later when the temperature drops to more tolerable levels. But there are two foreigners taking a stroll, followed by young Ravi, accompanied with Google, his “sahib’s” dog who has to be taken for a walk daily at this hour.
Two uniformed security guards, meantime, are pedalling along the perimeter, no doubt employed by a DefCol residence or two. Some paces away housemaid Shabnam is quietly sitting on a bench, relishing her brief break from work in a “kothi” (bungalow).
And now security guard Sadanand steps into the park. He is looking solemn. He says he just quit his job following a tiff. Having worked in the area for two years, he says that “the park gets big people as well as small people, and monkeys too!”
Sooner or later you’re sure to bump into a board that’s not usually seen in such neighbourhood parks but which nevertheless subtly reveals the nuances of social structures in our city. It says: “Guards and drivers are requested not to urinate on the roads and walls in the colony. Use toilet facility provided by your employers.”
The Central Park life