City Hangout – July Cloud Watching, Around Town
The pleasure of merely circulating.
[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Full of the pomp and stateliness of emeritus professors, they are broodily sauntering about the empty space, indulging in the rarefied pleasures of merely circulating. These clouds of our late-July sky.
One of the bad news these days is the weather. Unbearable humidity. Short spells of rain make it worse. While a full fledged session of rain raises fears of renewed flooding. And the sun isn’t being a friend. The consolation is the beautiful day sky, freckled with clouds. The only happy people must be the city’s countless nephophiles, the cloud connoisseurs.
Naturally, at this time of the year, one ought to return to the highway commute between Gurgaon’s Shankar Chowk and Delhi’s Rangpuri. The cab’s windshield shows a magnificent sky with dozens of cottony clouds, like stuffing spilled out of a torn pillow. The sight gives as much excitement as the window-side view in a Dilli-Mumbai flight flying above the monsoon clouds. The lawns and frangipani trees lining a stretch of the highway further garnish the delicious scenery.
Three monsoons ago, a most otherworldly twilight unfolded at Sector 6 in Ghaziabad’s Vasundhara. The afternoon showers birthed a large puddle in a vacant plot of land. As the partially-overcast sun dipped out of sight, a lone pinkish cloud dipped its reflection into the puddle, kindling the stagnant water into a pit of liquid fire. That land has today been tamed into a luxury condo, most of the flats still waiting for their buyers.
Not every multistory is hostile to us cloud watchers. The aforementioned highway between Shankar Chowk and Rangpuri shows up another thrilling spectacle as it swings by the DLF Cyber Hub high-rises. The glass windows of the Millennium City buildings brilliantly reflect the clouds. If you are lucky enough to simultaneously spot a Rapid Metro train sliding along the adjacent elevated track, you’ll then literally see a silver lining shooting past those clouds.
The city’s Galleria Market also hosts a distinguished view of the clouds. All you have to do is to sit on one of the benches at the plaza, or simply walk about the market’s upper floors. And look up.
The most breathtaking destination for cloud watchers in the entire Delhi region might be the Jami Masjid at Feroze Shah Kotla ruins. The mosque’s courtyard is perched atop an elevation. This evening, so much to see while standing on the stone floor: the Ring Road traffic, the chimneys of (defunct) Rajghat Power Thermal plant, the Vikas Minar at ITO, the Indira Gandhi stadium, the zigzagged housing of Vikram Nagar. But the eyes are drawn to the astoundingly open sky pigmented with a fragile film of cloud cover, the many fragments roughly joined to each other, but appearing to be on the verge of splitting into a million puffs. And now a young woman enters the scene with her nuclear family, the human presence abruptly turning the cumulous heavens into a cinematic poem. See photo.