City Walk – Midnight Round, India Gate Circle
Late night wonder.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Just about anybody moving about in Delhi knows something about that radial enveloping India Gate Circle.
It’s usually clogged with traffic, of course. Which is why knowledgeable city guides to our smoggy capital never suggest walking around the entire circle.
Nighttime—late into the night– is another story altogether. Traffic is next to nil as you negotiate the smoothly paved walkway shaded by webby tree branches so low they sometimes need to be brushed away by hand.
Citizenry does pop up here and there when sauntering past the palatial Hyderabad House where they’ve switched off all the lights. It looks, well, abandoned. Further along, the outdoor sculptures at the National Gallery of Fine Arts seem as forgotten as homeless people. The steam engine parked outside Baroda House looks as lonesome as a man cruising for emergency love in the public park.
And then there are those gun-toting soldiers because this locality houses several highly-secured government buildings. The most beautiful moments are when you’ll happen upon scores of snack vendors finally heading home after catering to late-night picnickers gathered near India Gate monument. They keep surfacing from the dark into the glow of the streetlamps like apparitions from a supernatural world.
Indeed, the walkway does have street lighting here and there, but otherwise utter darkness: The way it’s always been, since time historic. You’ll be brought back to modern Delhi soon enough, though. Eventually encountering ice cream vendors prepared to sell a choco bar or some nutty buddy. They stay beyond midnight waiting for the last drop of customers… such as you.
Experiments with light and darkness