City Life – Mohan Nagar Flyover Art, Ghaziabad
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
These cheerful murals beneath the new Mohan Nagar flyover relieve an otherwise bleak, dusty landscape. The suggestive sky on these panels is so brilliantly blue that it must surely glow at night with a billion stars.
No question that these artworks in suburban Ghaziabad in the Greater Delhi Region are indeed overwhelming. Even more so is the encounter with the homeless labourers from Rajasthan temporarily living under the flyover.
At the peak of the morning rush hour, a few barefoot kids of the labourers are making a mud home, their backs turned towards the mural’s sunflowers.
Nearby, an elderly gentleman is mumbling to a friend—oblivious to the gaudy green birds drawn on the pillar beside him, while a sweating woman close to the kathakalli dancer’s fresco is cooking breakfast rotis in a crudely-improvised earthen stove.
When his attention is directed to these paintings, the elderly gentleman mutters, “I haven’t got the time or patience to consider them.” A younger guy listening to this conversation helpfully explains that “we go to construction sites for work during the day, and at night we eat dinner and shortly afterwards fall asleep. There’s just no time.”
He goes on to say they’ll all be working elsewhere when the current job is completed. “Then we’ll live in some other roadside place.”
Meantime, the day is rapidly heating up. One of the painted pillars shows a child eagerly drinking tap water. But there’s no water tap anywhere.
Come here to witness the clashing pairing of realities and dreams our megacity offers.
Mohan Nagar illusions