City Walk – E Block, Greater Kailash Enclave
Occupy South Delhi Movement.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The lanes are tidier and even the air feels less poisonous.
Of course, it has to be one of those South Delhi neighbourhoods where lucky residents can live out lives of self-contained privilege. Or that’s what it seems to outsiders.
Whatever, one can at least take a soothing walk to taste a world beyond one’s reach. That’s why this lazy stroll about the community park nestled inside the E block of Greater Kailash Enclave 1. The most stunning sight is of a banyan tree standing by the garden’s west-facing boundary—so grand that its gracious aerial roots look like fairy tale heroine Rapunzel’s hair.
This afternoon, everyday problems seem so far away here in this GK enclave, as a gardener tills the flower beds and an iron-walla walks along carrying a freshly-ironed suit—perhaps he’s on a home-delivery errand.
Uniformed guards are gossiping over there: “It’s our lunch break,” one of them explains in his singsong Bhojpuri accent.
Tree leaves cover the lane like a carpet laid out on otherwise dusty ground. They make beautiful shadows even on the windshield of parked cars.
Clumsily printed posters advertising “Home Tuition: Best Marks Guaranteed” are plastered on the back of notice boards.
One bungalow looks as if it has been empty for a long time. Its gate locked, the driveway littered with leaves from various seasons. A leafless tree climbs up to a first-floor window.
A tiny white cat climbs up the gate of a nearby house and is suspiciously looking at a passerby.
The area’s only eyesores are some of the modern glassed-in homes that look as utilitarian as highway motels. Signs of domesticity (such as that elderly man watching the passersby from the balcony) do give them respite: A lady in an unlikely combination of track suit and dupatta emerges from one of these formidable houses with her dog on a leash.
Now there’s the sound of a whistling pressure cooker, suggesting that lunch is ready for some homebound souls. Most likely, yellow arhar dal.
Suddenly a monkey makes himself known, dangling on a tree branch. A woman living in one of these houses, on rent, explains that “two or three years ago” the local residents had hired a langur walla for the express purpose of scaring them away. “His langur scared the monkeys so much that most of them were gone,” she says.
But they seem to be back, in their own version of an Occupy South Delhi movement.
In any case, do meet the park guard Suresh Tiwari, usually seen sitting on a chair with his lathi. He has an infectious smile that is promising enough to cheer up the gloomiest moods.
The world of privilege