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Delhiwale: Lounging at India Gate on a weekday morning

Job seekers, loners, commuters, dreamers, thinkers — all come together at India Gate on a workday morning

delhi Updated: Sep 12, 2017 12:54 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
We meet some people hanging around at India Gate on a Monday morning.
We meet some people hanging around at India Gate on a Monday morning.(Mayank Austen Soofi / HT Photo)

The morning rush hour has finally been surmounted, leaving the grassy expanse at India Gate nearly deserted.

Even so, a few guys are lounging about, seemingly doing nothing. We decide to check them out in the very best spirit of investigative journalism. What are they up to — or not up to — while the world is working?

The guy who studies

Anant Singh has a book open in front of him. He is jotting down formulas and equations on a notepad. A squirrel is running in circles around him. The young man does not notice it. He is focused on the book.

Mr Singh says it’s easier to study at India Gate instead of his shared flat in east Delhi’s Laxmi Nagar. “Here, I can focus far better... I’m preparing for an entrance test for a job.”

He finished engineering last year at a college in Amritsar and is still without a job. Life feels uncertain. Mr Singh is now trying for a sarkari naukri (government job). “But I feel tense these days,” he says.

Hailing from Bihar, he plans to just go on studying on his own until the tide turns.

The guy who stares into vacuum

Sandeep Malhotra seems to be staring at nothing in particular, as if in deep thought. As a night-shift security guard in nearby Connaught Place he was “headed back to my room in Kotla but decided to stop here”. Mr Malhotra says he often wanders the city after completing his shift.

“I don’t have friends here, so every morning after breakfast in the office canteen I set out to discover something new in Delhi.” He’s generally home by afternoon to catch a few hours’ sleep.

The guy who relaxes

Dev is supremely comfortable, with a water bottle as head rest and mobile phone atop his stomach. His shirt is neatly folded beside him — he is in a white vest “I just want to relax for a while,” he says. Recently arrived from Pratapgarh in Uttar Pradesh, Dev is living in Delhi with some relatives until he finds a place of his own. “But before that, I’ve got to get a job. Been trying very hard! “

In fact, Dev hasn’t turned up at India Gate just to lounge around but also to maybe find work right there, on the spot. “I talked to a gardener here a few minutes ago… he works here… but he says it’s not easy to get hired at the moment.” Looking towards the traffic on the road, Dev says, “My wife and children are in the village… This is a big city… I’m sure I’ll soon find some work.”

The guy who contemplates

As soon as Lokesh had settled down at his work station in the office tower, he started feeling unwell. It’s viral fever season, after all, so this computer operator decided to take the day off. The train from Delhi to his home in Faridabad won’t leave until afternoon so Lokesh has wandered onto these serene grounds to kill time — and contemplate. “India Gate is so famous,” he says, “and I’m thinking about certain things in my life….”

Such as?

Lokesh laughs. “That’s private! But, really, I’m quite content, even happy.”