Sunday, August 15, 2010

what a wastrel

The park across from our apartment, that lays just beyond the road at our door front, has again become a raging sea of goopy dirt and dusty water. The rains came this past week – and although the streets drain eventually, our park seems to contain its water very effectively. Maybe it’s really a community pool, and we accidentally mistook it for a park in its dry stages…

Yesterday we took a slight adventure to Connaught Place – near where we had stayed at the YWCA when we first arrived in India, before securing an apartment farther north. The base of the metro stairs, at the exit, met us with cascades of water slipping down the sleek black stairs. Luckily, a drainage system ushered the water away before it managed to crawl too far into the station. We stared up at the gray booming sky –
Our destination was simply a movie theater, somewhere up above in Connaught Place. Connaught Place is in the shape of a circle (going along with the theme of roundabouts that are scattered throughout Delhi, with makes it even more of a maze to navigate) packed with people and beggars and shops and bars and travel agencies and movie theaters and places to grab food – except at the moment, it is ravaged with construction. It is nearly impossible to perceive a store front, a sidewalk, a path, or to grasp any sort of cohesive vision of what this Place is supposed to look like. For example, in order to get from the metro station to the shielded walkway underneath an awning, we had to walk about 30 yards. This distance –
Caked with mud and viscous brown rainwater, trapped between rock and brick clusters, the entire area swallowed our feet as we slipped and dipped through a sopping mess of debris. At one point we had to walk single file across a beam of wood over a newly formed pond, step up over some metal bars, through what will someday become a brick-lined planter, down onto some piles of uneven rock, and more mud…
I felt like I was on a Safari through some concrete ruins. And on our left you will see the Wild Men in business suits, covering their head with brief cases, frolicking in shined shoes to get to the metro station.
Even navigating around Connaught Place itself was tricky – construction is literally flailing at every corner. Scaffolding made of what look like thick branches tied together in rectangular-like structures are in the middle of walkways, stuck in the mud. Holes gape at you from the ground, unprotected. Wire. Cranes. Chaos.
It’s all somehow incredibly beautiful, though; something that would inspire an artist to sculpt massive piles of debris in still visions of chaotic asceticism.

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