City Landmark – The Gloomy Staircase, Near New Delhi Railway Station
When a piece of utilitarian infrastructure becomes poetic.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
This fine old staircase leading to the overhead bridge in Central Delhi somehow seems steeped in a kind of melancholy.
Here in early evening, a couple of good folk are huddled on the steps, quietly, while a woman standing further up seems lost in her thoughts.
With some 50 years on its back, not even sunlight can offer a glimmer of optimism—the surrounding area appears bleak and shabby.
An elderly man is spotted sitting on the neem leaf-strewn steps, his head plopped on his hands. Close by is a blank-faced street vendor with his basket of golgappas, who climbs further up in hopes of a sale or two before it turns dark.
All the while, a steady hum of traffic on the bridge conveys the impression of a busy city that can’t slow down to assuage the sadness all around. The overall gloominess is accentuated by the New Delhi railway station nearby and the penetrating howls of train engines.
You really need to turn up at this staircase to witness how a mere bit of utilitarian architecture can evoke strong feelings evocative of mournful songs.
At the top of the staircase, a small chunk of concrete seems to have slipped, but is supported by a bent iron rod to prevent it from falling. This sight looks like a broken heart, worthy of an Instagram photo.
The bridge of a melancholic county