City Landmarks – Two Bridges, New Delhi and Gurgaon Railway Stations
Bridge to bridge.
[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]
All bridges cross over something to reach somewhere. But some bridges are themselves an overwhelming destination. Here are two such unusual landmarks in the Delhi region. They happen to be built over railway stations, but are outside the limits of the station. You don’t have to get a platform ticket to feel their intense vibes.
The old road bridge over the New Delhi Railway Station
Stand over the pedestrian track directly overlooking the rail platforms. Here the longed-for escape from the megapolis seems within reach. The rail tracks fan out from the station like the many channels of a river delta. On each platform: passengers, porters, labourers, tea vendors, snack sellers. You too want to be one of the travellers. The trains are leaving/arriving at irregular intervals. The signboards on one is marked Jammu. Another seems to be heading to Vizag. Soon enough, a glance at the hazy outlines of the distant Connaught Place towers—they make a marvellous backdrop to the station—produces a pang in the heart. These familiar towers have seen us in times good and bad. Their sight dims the urge to quit the city. Meanwhile, don’t ignore the life unfolding right on the bridge: a man in torn shirt has tears streaming out on his cheeks; an elderly gent in droopy shoulders is standing almost against his will at a pavement stall of soft-porn Hindi magazines; barefoot lungi clad labourers are hauling loaded carts up the bridge. These are we the Delhiwale, in all our poignances.
The new foot-over bridge upon Gurgao railway station
Afternoon. A woman sitting on the stairs, humming a folksy song. Further up, the long airy passageway punctuated by pedestrians hurrying towards either end of the bridge. None seems to be a traveller, no one is carrying any suitcase. These people must be locals exploiting the infrastructure utility as a shortcut between the localities separated by the station. In the center of the bridge, a man is sitting cross-legged. His eyes barely blinking. Close by, a young woman is standing by the railing, her dupatta loose in the wind with her hair. Suddenly, a maal gadi passes underneath in great fury. The sound rattles the bridge like a storm. Far away, a cluster of multistory towers, looking like aliens.