City Landmark – Pushkin’s Statue, Redeveloped Mandi House Traffic Circle
Poet and his bird.
[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]
A cunning squirrel is traipsing underneath the green hedges. A bird, somewhere hidden, is twittering infrequently. A yellow butterfly is flapping about aimlessly in the cold air. A barefoot man is sleeping on a grass patch, behind. And our verse writer is patiently perched on his appointed pedestal.
For decades, Russian poet Pushkin’s bronze likeness have been gracing this corner of the smoggy Mandi House traffic circle. The statue is so discreetly tucked, and so camouflaged by the tiptop foliage of the surrounding trees, that you might find it difficult to spot unless you are aggressively searching for it.
The statue has already been celebrated on this pages, some years back. Things have changed since then. The way of experiencing the landmark has profoundly altered, owing to the recent renovations made to the circle. All the six corners have been embellished with little amphitheaters and petite plazas, which are so serenely atmospheric that you may lounge in them for hours, free to ruminate upon the world as unhurriedly as a buffalo chewing the cud. Earlier, Pushkin stood right beside the pavement and you would gaze upon him from a pedestrian’s perspective. Now the course of the pave have been made to shift, slightly. A small lawn, along with a tiny plaza, have come up in front of the poet.
This afternoon, the lawn is empty except for a bird perched on the grass. She is as still as Pushkin, and is continually gazing at the writer. Acquired wisdom suggests that a bird’s brain is unlikely to have any idea about poets and poetry. But then why is she so steadily gazing at the poet?
Meanwhile, the adjacent hedge indicates that this newly redeveloped place have already been colonised (and abused) by us muggles. The pretty plants are entangled with tetrapacks of fruit juices, sachets of mouth fresheners, empty biscuits packets, and a bus ticket too. Some of the green leaves show red paan stains.
Meanwhile, Pushkin is looking calm, indifferent to the hustle-bustle, including to the fact that his left leg is splattered with bird droppings, and that his long coat is coated with a layer of spider’s web.
While the unmoving bird is continuing to stare at him. The sight is to be seen to be believed—see photo!