The Yamuna, in full spate, brought a rare throng of visitors to its flooding northern shore on Monday.
Commuters en route northeast Delhi via Yamuna Bazar's old iron bridge had a harrowing time and traffic movement on the adjacent Ring Road went into a tizzy, as mediapersons of all hues descended below the Hanuman Setu, in a mad rush to report on Delhi's very own river of sorrow.
"They've parked their vehicles in the middle of the road everywhere. As if that wasn't enough, the rest of the way has been blocked by onlookers. First, I was stuck for half-an-hour behind the Red Fort and then for another half an hour below the Mangi Bridge," said Rakesh Virmani (40).
"I've been here for 40 years. The last time I saw a television camera was when the Hanuman Setu was inaugurated before the Asiad Games in the early 1980s," said Shyam Murari (48) who owns a small cigarette-vending shop in Yamuna Bazar.
An awestruck Murari keenly followed each passing OB van and would occasionally hurl abuses at cycle-riders blocking their way to an improvised parking spot at the mouth of the ancient bridge.
More than a dozen of them were blocking the entire carriageway towards Seelampur. "They are media persons, let them through. Let them through; they are big people," he would say.
Here and there, altercations ensued between stranded commuters, divided only by a crumbling, concrete road divider and their sense of direction.
"As it is, there's no space for vehicles on the entire road. On top of it, these media people have left their ‘battle tanks' wherever there is space. They just care about their ratings - the common man can very well go to hell, trying to get to his shop," said Shankar Sharma (25), who owns an electronics shop at the Lajpat Rai Market.
"On an average, at least two people commit suicide by jumping off this iron bridge daily. But nobody seems to care. This water level is normal. Don't these camera people have anything better to do?" asked Suman Devi (50), flower seller.
The Delhi Traffic Police was aware of slow traffic movement in the area. "But we haven't received many complaints. Perhaps because not many commuters want to be on the wrong side of the media's attention," said a senior traffic police officer, requesting anonymity.