City Season – Monsoon’s Sunset Hues, Around Town
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It comes unexpected. Suddenly the grim, grey sky disappears to be replaced by a haze of deep shades of blue, with hints of pale red or pink.
This is an extraordinary evening sight.
Surprisingly, no masked shopper here on Khan Market’s front lane cares enough to look up at the phenomenon. (Not that there are as many people strutting around as in the BC — before coronavirus — era, but yet.)
A masked parking attendant, sitting idly on a scooter at the market’s entrance, looks up after his attention is directed towards the surreal colors of the sky. He observes them for some time. Then he bows down his head, and murmurs, “Never seen anything like this.”
It might be true for him, but Delhi sees these kinds of skies every year during the monsoon months. In the day, the sky remains somewhat ordinary, cloaked in boring rain clouds. But as the evening unfolds, the sharp colors of the sunset (the sun being invisible all this while) often manages to break through the clouds, and drenches the air with hues of red, pink, orange and blue, so ethereal that it overwhelms the senses of the lucky few who manage to register this passing beauty.
Just a little bit later, just a little bit farther, the reddish-blue heaven is behaving differently. At the Kasturba Gandhi trafic intersection, the sky looks as sublime but more vulnerable too, for its multicolored glow is being challenged by the brighter red of the trafic light. As the red turns to green, the canvas suddenly gets tainted, as if the painter had accidentally dropped a drip of green on it — or the Instagrammer used a greenish filter.
Another evening, in an empty ground in Ghaziabad’s Vasundhara neighbourhood, a similar setting — colors and shades so beautiful and fragile that maybe, just by exhaling, you’ll chase them away. It has rained earlier in the afternoon and a large puddle—like a lake on the top of a volcanic mountain—had formed in a still-empty real estate. As the sun starts to go down somewhere in the unseen west, it bleaches a leftover cloud in smoky red. The cloud is reflected onto the monsoon puddle, which looks like a pit of frozen fire. It is a scene particular to the spot and couldn’t be replicated anywhere else. It has more beauty than it probably deserves, because one knows that this place is normally just another piece of dusty Ghaziabad. Soon afterwards, it becomes dark.
In these times of coronavirus pandemic, it is difficult to freely go about town—and just forget about flying to a far away holiday. But looking up at the evening skies might give you a sense of escape—no matter where in Delhi.