City Hangout – Pond-Side Trees, Redeveloped Central Vista
First day in the new Central Vista.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
These don’t look like happy trees.
Sad and despairing, they in fact remind one of Ophelia, the grief-stricken heroine in Shakespeare’s Hamlet who dies by drowning. Indeed, many of the trees at the Central Vista grounds stranded between Janpath Road and Rastrapati Bhawan have their branches partially dipped in the pond. They have been in this state from before the redevelopment.
No one’s here to note the sorrowful beauty of the droopy trees. Even though the new stone bridge here is a perfect vantage point to cherish them, especially at this moment as the sun is beginning to set, its gold light is sprinkling into the pond waters.
Earlier the water in the pond used to be still, mirroring the sky, the clouds and the passing birds. Now, a fountain keeps the water in a state of perpetual motion.
While so much has changed in the surroundings, these trees lend the India Gate grounds its same old character of gentle mourning. Perhaps more than apt, because the India Gate monument as well as the newer National War Memorial commemorate the dead.