City Walk – Jahanpanah City Forest, South Delhi
Into the wild.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
You’ve probably heard that old expression “can’t miss the woods for the trees!”
That’s exactly how The Delhi Walla felt one cold evening when venturing into Jahanpanah City Forest.
My first few minutes in this south Delhi retreat were comforting. There were the familiar symbols of urban parks, such as benches and rain shelters. Some elderly walkers, some middle-aged people were talking loudly on mobile phones, and there was even a boxing coach with his female charge.
Soon, it was all behind me as I ventured into a wilderness I never imagined existed right in the heart of Delhi. Instead of imposing Ashoka or pine trees, this was an unfamiliar terrain strewn with leaves and shaded by trees I’d never seen.
I trekked further along the lonely path that twisted and turned, up and down some tricky slopes. Every time I felt terrifyingly alone in this seemingly vast forest, a solitary jogger would reassuringly pop into view.
On and on. I had hoped the road would eventually terminate at some kind of exit, but maybe it wouldn’t.
I didn’t exactly panic, but experienced a kind of foreboding. Approaching a fork, I turned into an even narrower lane when suddenly — there was a glimpse of rickshaws and cars.
And so I was back home in frantic Delhi once again — reeling just a bit from that sense of isolation in a spooky city forest.
Far from the city