City Walk – Florence Nightingale Lane, Green Park
Street of the nurse.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Delhi has all sorts of lanes, all over the place.
And then there’s Florence Nightingale Lane in Green Park—reminding us of the need for nurses in these grim days of pandemic.
The street suitably houses the Trained Nurses’ Association of India; the sprawling building features an outdoor painting depicting Nightingale—walking past a row of filled hospital beds carrying a lamp.
The other side of the road sports expensive private homes, some of them with three stories. Many have huge glass windows through which the afternoon sun shines so brilliantly that you might well imagine a getaway resort. Some of these rooms on the upper floors have no curtains, and clearly reveal the furniture inside. One house has a gigantic frangipani tree peeping out of its gate. Another is decked with tall, handsome Ashokas. Then there’s a mansion with the national flag at the top. Many homes also cultivate lush little plants streaming along their length. The shadows of their leaves along border walls tremble gently in the breeze. It’s akin to watching some silent film filled with hidden meaning.
Do the residents of these splendid dwellings feel secure enough not to worry that much about their livelihoods during the lockdown? Can they afford to live in self-isolation far into the future?
There’s no one to immediately ask. The only folk you find on this street are smartly uniformed guards stationed outside residences. On the porch of one particular house the young guard chit-chats with a stray dog.
Towards the end of this enchanted road is the sudden sight of a blooming amaltas tree generously covered with golden flowers. You’re reminded of that fairy tale where anything the king touches turns into gold. The scene is even more glorious because the sky is deep blue and the street is empty (lockdown!). And now appears a man with a cylinder on his back. He is a “mosquito terminator”. The man stands by a drain under the tree and starts spraying the insecticide into it, oblivious to the tree’s noisy beauty.
Outside the nurses’ building is a large plaque commemorating 2020 as the “year of the nurse & midwife”. But history will mark it more as the time as when coronavirus entered our lives.
A stroll through Florence Nightingale’s lane