City Hangout – Sperm Park, AIIMS Flyover
Silence in the chaos.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Who could have imagined the quietest place in Delhi is snuggled in the heart of noise?
All around The Delhi Walla is chaos — bikes, autos, cars and buses are speeding on the flyover. But I’m lying sprawled on a grassy slope with the latest Zadie Smith. A plane is flying in the deep blue evening sky; it is looking like a bird. We can see real birds, too.
Such are the lazy thrills of lounging in the garden under the AIIMS flyover — the one that is notorious for its ‘giant sperms’. But those metallic installations planted by a steel company in the name of public art fail to interfere with my delight of being here.
The serenity is beyond belief. The roar of the traffic sounds like sea waves crashing gently on the beach. Looking at the few people who, like us, are lying on the grass is part of the pleasure. Each person seems so small and insignificant against the backdrop of this hyperactive metropolis. Yet, each of them is also looking so much at peace, so far from the trials of everyday world, as if free of all bonds. Too bad I’ll have to return to my flat. But I’ll be back again.
Easy for us to scoff at these’ giant sperms’ but there’s a deeper meaning here. These blobs of not-so-shiny steel represent the untold billions of sperm cells that simply couldn’t make it. Each one of us was born of spermatozoa that were successful in combining with and fertilizing egg cells. The unlucky ones faded into nothingness. So here’s a memorial to their frustration, failure and the oblivion to which they have been consigned. As they try to wriggle away from those semi-ovular mounds of earth, they remind us of the game of sheer chance and speed that gives rise to human beings.
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