Mission Delhi – Ram Bhajan, Redeveloped Central Vista
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Ram Bhajan is a lucky person. Unlike most of us Delhiites, who have been allowed to wander about the new Central Vista only since today, he has already been hanging out here for a week. And he is not even a Delhiite.
“This is the first time I am in Delhi,” says Ram Bhajan. In his early 30s, the labourer is a part of the “gang” of workers working on behalf of a contractor. They have been preparing the venue for the opening week events. “I’m in charge of putting up the tent etc, for functions such as the inauguration of the murti,” he explains, referring to the newly installed statue of Subhash Chandra Bose. Sitting in one of the new stones bridges that span over the lake beside India Gate, Ram Bhajan talks of his hometown Rampur’s beautiful buildings — “but nothing can equal this,” he suddenly exclaims, waving his arm towards the monument behind. “Such a khubsoorat imarart (beautiful building) can never be made again in our country.”
Looking about the afternoon crowd, Ram Bhajan says that he has seen this area at the loneliest hours of the night, “when it looks even more beautiful.” He and his colleagues have been provided with sleeping arrangements in the ground close to India Gate, he explains. “At night, there are lights everywhere. These lights get into the water, you feel a gold fire everywhere… and the grass gets wet with barfeeli oas (icy dew)… It gets very cold.”
Ram Bjajan will have to stay here for another week, and then the work will be over. “This is when I’ll go back to Rampur.”
[This is the 508th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
A passing citizen