City Walk – Signature Chowk Bridge, Gurgaon
Beyond the practical utility.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Open sky. Nobody. Just you and your solitude, and a quiet walk mid-air.
Footover bridges are among the most escapist places of a city, especially when suspended in places that don’t appeal to crowds during certain times of the day (outside the rush hours, for instance). Like the one streaming out of exit 3, in Old Faridabad metro station. That facility for pedestrians remains deathly quiet during noons when you can hear the air rock its metal body with a hissing sound.
But no bridge in the entire Delhi region can match the haunting feeling experienced here on the footbridge spanning over the Signature Tower Chowk in Gurgaon.
This afternoon, the crisscrossing roads and flyovers are punctuated with cars and bikes, but the long bridge seems detached from the world. The escalators are still. The staircase is painted over with shifting patterns of daylight and shade. Up on the bridge, the sound of traffic has acquired an interesting character. Rather than being an irritant, it now fascinates, as if a classical music composer had weaved together a myriad of dissonant noises into a rhapsody dedicated to the chaos of modern life.
As the breeze blowing along the bridge sweeps the fine gravel and sand from their hideouts, they drift haphazardly, making scratchy noises on the metal flooring on settling down.
Now, the view.
The 1pm sky is without its customary mist or fog, and so clear that one could as well paw the blue out of it. Far off distances seem within grasp while the nearby high-rises are scattered like packs of socially-distanced stalagmites. Directly below, a labourer is digging the ground, his face is bent downwards but the yellow helmet glints in the sunshine.
The bridge overlooks the highway to Jaipur and also to an underpass, whose long curvy skylight, before it disappears into the ground, looks like a python lounging under the winter sun.
On returning to the earth, the bridge again seems remote. Now a man enters its empty corridor. From the pavement below, he is looking like a small ant moving across a tablecloth. He suddenly stops, takes out what appears to be his mobile, and stretches out the phone-holding arm, probably clicking a full-body selfie.
A walk in midair