City Landmark – Blue Wall, Roshan Pura
The Roshan Pura blues.
[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]
This blue can never be perfectly rendered in a photograph. The shade is that fragile. This afternoon, as you stand in front of it, the colour seems to be evaporating into the sweltering air. You come back on the same spot after a few minutes; the blue hasn’t gone after all.
One is ceaselessly called upon to experience a new restaurant, or an old monument that nobody cares about. So it’s natural to be doubtful about a recommendation that wants you to come all the way to Gurgaon’s Roshan Pura in the Greater Delhi Region, just to stare at some colour that must have been painted in some other lifetime, on a derelict brick wall. But there’s something truly magical about the shade. It could be the apparent impermanence of the vision. The paint is spread across the wall but has disappeared from places, showing the red bricks beneath. Even where the blue has gone off, something of it remains, like a memory that lingers on for years.
This unnamed street, very close to the National Dairy, would have been picturesque even without the blue wall. Indeed, it’s a rare locality in the so-called Millennium City still full of aged buildings made of lakhori bricks. The exterior of every house has something arresting about it—a weathered wooden door with intricate carving; or a shapely taak, or niche, laced in ancient cobwebs that look like wisps of clouds. Some of these houses seem to be uninhabited, many doors are locked. The lane is empty. A few minutes later a man walks by. A local dweller, he says that many buildings on this street are old by a 100 years. As his attention is directed towards the eye-catching wall, the man gazes upon it and goes away quietly.
Two streets away, some months ago, a residence with lakhori bricks and arched doorways was laid to rubble—to be replaced by a newer edifice.
One wonders how long will the buildings in this lane survive? Considering this is a city forever starving for yet more real estate.
As you stroll past these houses, they seem to be here but not endurable. Like that blue clinging on to the brick wall.