Despite the fact that I have been to Delhi an insane number of times over the past few years, as embarrassing as it might sound, I had not been able to visit the India Gate at night. Something I really wanted to do since a while. Heck I haven’t been there even during the day time in almost two decades now. Last I was at the Rajpath was on a humid June (or was it July?) noon as a school boy, way back in 1997. So when me and Ruchi found ourselves in Delhi last summers after a successful trek to the Hampta pass, I saw it as a wonderful opportunity to visit the India Gate which had eluded me far too long now.
The warm and humid air welcomed us as soon as left the comforts of the air-cooled cab. Now not everyone knows it but humidity really bothers me. I can take heat but the sticky humid feel, it really spoils my mood. So the first thought that came to my mind as I stepped out of the cab was, how long will I be able to tolerate this. Thankfully though, the thought was short-lived and I was soon enjoying everything around me.
There is something about this imposing structure. You cannot be not impressed every time you see it. Its grandness, it commands attention and very deservingly so. That however was not something I wanted to experience this time around. I have already seen the iconic monument so what if it was long long ago, the memories are still fresh.This time I was here to see for myself, the ‘charm’ I have read and heard about so many times over the years. The charm of being at the India Gate at night.
I was delighted to find it exactly the way I had read about (and imagined) all these years. Exactly as I had expected. I would not be wrong if I go a step further and sat that it was actually a little more than that, my expectation I mean. Kids ran around vendors selling balloons and toys, cotton candies in their hands while their parents sat relaxing on the evenly levelled green grass that carpeted the lawns on both sides of the roads. Couples enjoyed their ice-cream as if they had all the time in the world. Around all this, how could we have been left behind. So we too took a stroll with our share of bhel-puris in our hands.
It might not sound anything special to everyone but to me, it was like re-living the years gone-by. Having been grown-up in a Bengali society where post-dinner adda is an important aspect of daily life this, the environment at the India Gate at night is as close as you can get to an adda when away in a non-bengali society.
I enjoyed every single minute of the couple of hours or so we were there. It reminded me of the nights of Park Street, Kolkata albeit in much more delightful way. Park – street at night too has the bhel-puri wallahs and balloon sellers and Ice-cream wallahs et al but now having experienced both the places, I can confidently give it to Delhi. No second thoughts about it.
Have you visited the India Gate? How do you like it there at night?