City Season – Cloud Watching, Around Town
Cloud spotter’s guide.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The sky upon a rutty lane in Noida’s Sector 15A splintered into hundreds of cumulus clouds, as if the milk curdled. While in Hazrat Nizamuddin East, the historic Humayun Tomb abruptly vanished.
Today is the first week of saawan, the fifth month in the Hindu calendar. Our dull Delhi sky has suddenly become instagrammable in this season of showers.
The other afternoon, a cavalcade of aimless clouds lazily drifted over the treetops and office towers of Kasturba Gandhi Marg. Nobody looked up. The indifference isn’t a pandemic. The twitter is overcast these days with cloud photos snapped by Delhiites from balconies, roofs, parks and monuments.
Monsoon is indeed nature’s gift to nephophiles, the cloud devotees. Even the hardcore unromantics might consider baptising themselves into cloud gazers after a joyride on the Delhi-Meerut Expressway—especially on the stretch between the Ring Road and Akshardham Temple. This sprawling site in the Delhi region holds on to a most expansive and unhindered perspective of the sky. The close runner-up has to be the highway commute between Gurgaon’s Shankar Chowk and Mahipalpur. In both routes, a July-August evening can be experienced like a visual poem, especially if the (setting) sun and the rain clouds happen to be hanging out together. The sky then dissolves into a most delicate mix of blue and red. During one such lucky commingling, the sky’s magical light infiltrated the manhole outside the Windsor pet shop in fashionable Khan Market, and for a few moments, that crude metal lid ceased to be a manhole.
Two saawans ago, a most ethereal twilight unfolded in Ghaziabad’s Vasundhara. The afternoon showers birthed a large puddle in a vacant plot of land. As the half-overcast sun dipped out of sight, a lone pinkish cloud rammed its reflection into the puddle, kindling the stagnant water into a pit of volcano lava. It was a heart-stopping sight.
Hoping for a repeat viewing, The Delhi Walla raced to the same spot one recent evening. The sky was almost as ethereal. But there was no puddle. That vacant land has exploded into a high-rise.
Walk in the clouds