City Hangout – Valley of Flowers, Central Delhi
A surprise beauty.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
At first glance, it looks like a huge patch of snow that didn’t melt for some reason.
But it soon becomes clear that one is gazing upon a field of white flowers thriving in the most unlikely of locations. Specifically, just next to the railing of the pedestrian lane along a bridge near New Delhi railway station.
They were reportedly planted just weeks ago by a railway personnel, according to laddu vendor Ramchander. He is, however, unable to identify the flowers by their name, neither are a few of the pedestrians. In any case, this part of the city is hardly noted for beauty or sheer enjoyment. Unless of course you like gazing at the distant towers of Connaught Place, or at the railway station’s platforms directly underneath the bridge. Everything else is grim here: labourers hauling carts of bricks along the bridge. Street hawkers with their meagre offerings. And the beggars.
The tiny flower field is a rare luxury that’s accessible for anybody to stand by and gaze upon the exquisite sight. It might not warrant a second look if located in Lodhi Garden or Nehru Park. But here, the flowers stand out like a rare brook bubbling in the desert. The sight is exquisite.
As though aware of their grim setting, the white flowers present a kind of solemn stateliness. Those busy pedestrians stopping to gaze upon this patch of unexpected beauty are offered the chance to escape to a better world for a few moments. But they put up a show only after the sunset. During the day the flowers drop down, looking half-dead. This fragile Cinderella-like existence makes this spot even more wondrous and sublime. Come around 7pm.
An unexpected corner