City Hangout – Weeping Trees, India Gate
A scene by the canal.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
These don’t look like happy trees, do they?
Sad and despairing, they perhaps remind one of Ophelia, the grief-stricken heroine in Shakespeare’s Hamlet who dies by drowning. Indeed, many of the older trees here have their branches dipped deep in the long canal at the India Gate Grounds in Central Delhi. As though they’re tired of the world and want to simply drown and disappear forever.
Such is the almost palpable melancholy wafting like an invisible mist (smog?) along this stretch. The prevalent mood is so withdrawn that it’s hard to believe that one is in the very heart of bustling Delhi.
Throngs of visitors invariably turn up at India Gate for ice cream and good times, perhaps picnics with family and friends. Rarely do they note the beauty of these stately trees—at least it’s true for the moment.
This particular afternoon finds couples of all ages, plus a handful of loners along this stretch. One gentleman sitting along the embankment stares morosely into the canal, as though his very person embodies the sad spirit of these trees. The water is perfectly still, mirroring the sky, the clouds and the passing birds.
But the droopy trees give the place its character of gentle mourning. Perhaps more than apt, because the India Gate monument commemorates lives lost in the wars.