Rajiv Chowk and a Spectator

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There are times when you linger on in a public place and you do nothing but stare, for no apparent reason. You can pull out the tangled dirty earphones that you have shoved in the deepest reaches of your apathetic jeans and listen to some stuff that you wanted to. You can read that unread e-book that was just sitting there on your iPod, bookmarked according to your convenience. You can even talk to your friend who is waiting with you, wailing about the unpunctuality of the friends you are waiting for, but you don’t. You stare at the vast multitudes of the starkly different individuals who are waiting. Their wait might be formal, for a different train, to catch a snack or maybe like me, waiting for my friends.

 

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A few minutes into my wait, I moved to the coffee house. A testy hub of weary travellers and the meeting place for us, we stood along the walls, resting our backs and standing astray. A young girl of north eastern descent fidgeted with her smart phone, as did so many in this giant metro station. Crowds came and crowds went, cresting every 4 minutes on the arrival of a new metro. A couple nervously fought beside us. Apparently the boy invited someone that his love interest didn’t like, and added to that was the jostle that she was late. The bickering was to and fro, persistent and sometimes even transient about the original topic of the fight. But they fought for a good 10 minutes before the lady in a violet pantsuit, came up to hug the couple and chatted up the lady leaving the boy to follow the trail of the ladies. It was amusing and pedantic, considering the fact that this wasn’t the only couple that fought in the 50 metre radius, about non trivial random issues. It’s as if they liked it, the fight providing adequate spice to their relationship for them to do it with such vigour. By then the north-eastern girl left with a boy, from North Eastern origin as well, who was dressed as if he belonged to a 90’s boy band. Maybe he was the inspiration behind the fidget with her device, which was twice the size of her hand. When she picked it up to talk once, it felt as if she was trying to cover her face from the glare of the fluorescent ceiling lights. My mind immediately recollected a hilarious troll which I had seen on Facebook a few days back, the future of IPhones and Samsung Galaxy phone, with the lengthened IPhone forming a Jedi sword and the large rectangular Galaxy S 20 something, forming the handy shield. One can make a comparison between the evolutions of cell-phones and that of computers, while the latter evolved from gigantic room sized ones to the slight tender laptop, the former forever becomes larger and more difficult to hold.

 

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Twenty minutes into the wait, and my friend leaves to enjoy the luxuries of the rest rooms. The constancy of the cues, the ever profusion of human impatience and the glaring contrasts of colours emanating from the colourful crowd was taking its toll. To others, seeing another in a hurry would induce the same kind of impatience, a beastly trait generally associated with discharge. However it gave me peace, knowing that at this stage of my existence, these chains of predicament do not bind me. Side-lining the futuristic meteoric ambitions that possess my psyche for one day was calming and pleasing.

 

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The colourful crowd was weird and eclectic, seeped in Indian mediocrity yet forged with Indian sophistication, a rainbow crowd of the diverse that mirrors the people of India. I saw a load bearer carrying a bunch of magazines, immediately followed by a gang of young tech junkies. Obscure divergent worlds mixed in unison with me and my friend, who had returned, as its spectators. The metro rail pathways were shown in a miniature map of Delhi, adjacent to which were simple metro memorabilia, some model trains, sketch books, road maps which seemed like an exercise in spacer filling more than anything else, to fill that hapless cabinet which was mistakenly built. Vanity is probably the most subjective, ardently debatable concept ever in human recollection. A simple mind enjoying simplistic pleasures may not enjoy the attractions of a girl with a biker tattoo, which might be ever-so irresistible for the new MTV inspired “roadi” crowd. A hipster with dishevelled, yet meticulously gelled hair, obscure clothing and numerous piercing tread past us. I wonder what my Bengali culture soaked old world aunt in behala, would have said when she saw him. The mere thought was hilarious.

 

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And then my phone rang and my friends had arrived. Rajiv chowk is the true reflection of Delhi, which is a reflection of India itself. Caught in the crossroads of the old and new, the ordinary and the bizarre, it would be wondrous if the walls could speak. The diverse nationalities, hyperactive argumentative couples, the eccentrically dressed, the movie posters and the regular unstoppable corundum of people makes us for the noisy brash brutal soul of this principal metro station.

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