City Hangout – The Mostly Empty Cafeteria, National Gallery of Modern Art
A midsummer’s day cafeteria.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It stands to reason that some Delhiwallas seek out safe havens in Nainital and New York during those blistering April/May/June days when temperatures rise to inhumane levels.
Many may seek refuge in their air-conditioned offices, when the mercury mercilessly crosses the dreaded 45 mark. But some others may need to find a safe shelter elsewhere.
As the heat shoots up, you ought to consider finding shelter in the stylish National Gallery of Modern Art, where the mighty air conditioning keeps both patrons and paintings so very cool.
Particularly recommended is the museum’s vast cafeteria, which is nearly empty all day long — it’s a hot-season getaway right here in the city but minus the crowd. On one sweltering afternoon, the sprawling place was hosting only a single couple, their romantic whisperings echoing faintly in the discreetly dark chamber that they had all to themselves.
Here, the very idea of summer seems almost idyllic. The daylight slides so very discreetly through tall glass window panes — the shapes of light and shadows themselves looking like works of art. The increasingly hostile white sunshine appears friendly here. Indeed, the madding heat of day now seems as harmless as the paintings in the gallery — that philistines like The Delhi Walla might brazenly ignore while contemplating the menu.
To be honest, there’s not much to choose but on offer is the excellent ajwain-flavoured samosa and a quite decent bread pakoda. To sit on the cafeteria’s charming cane chair, and peacefully while away the long summer’s day punctuated by cups of chai is far superior to bumping into fellow Delhiwallas during vacations in… well, New York and Nainital.
Except Mondays, the café is open from 11 am to 4.30 pm.
I still remember being treated horribly by the NGMA staff. Behaved abominably with my guests too. I told the staff to shove their twisted exhibits where the sun don’t shine. Not going back there any time soon.
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