City Hangout – Gwal Pahari, Near Golf Course Road
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
I love Rashi—the declaration on the rock is scrawled in white. The ‘love’ is depicted with a heart. The same declaration covers the surface of the adjacent rock. The rock next to it is dedicated to Rashi too, but with a birthday greeting. Across the road, the rock on the facing hill shows the same declaration to the same person in the same handwriting.
If this is a lover’s proposal, then it certainly is a romantic place to do that.
This hilly spot is the closest we in Delhi can ever get to a landscape resembling the mountainous getaways of Nainital or Mussoorie. The world here is made of hills, boulders, and dense greenery. Far over lurk the high-rises, giving as much wonder as a vacationer gets on seeing the smoggy plains of Dehradun from the clearer altitudes of Mussoorie.
Very close to Gurgaon’s malls and office towers, Gwal Pahari shows a geography that must have existed long before cities came into being. Maybe this was how the hilly land where Old Delhi stands looked like centuries ago.
This afternoon, the monsoon breeze is blowing gently. Cab driver Rajinder Kumar Alokati is standing atop the aforementioned rock, gazing upon the distant concretes. The overcast sky is empty except for a white bird flying directly above, and a plane moving ant-like in a far corner.
This point in Gwal Pahari is perched on a height, but is right beside the busy road. The Gurgaon-Faridabad highway cuts through the land. Further ahead, on driving down the road, a neel gai is is spotted running down on a scraggy plain. A cow somewhere is mooing.
As the daylight dims, the electric poles straddling the land begin to resemble supernatural beings, like Shakespeare’s witches waiting for Macbeth to destroy him with their misleading prophesies.
Further snooping exposes the area to have been visited by many lovelorn people. Every third rock front is scrawled with “I love you” in a different handwriting. One rock, though, is a little less romantic, with tips on treating bawasir, the piles. In the end, one comes back to Rashi. Was she being stalked? If not, what was her reply to her suitor? A neighbouring rock might give away Rashi’s response. It says: “I love burger.”
On the rocks