At the posh South Delhi Club in Greater Kailash-I, even though the club is teeming with people—most of them senior citizens, some even in their 90s—one can’t mistake the gloom that flits from one card table to another.
Most of the conversations revolve around the impending closure of the club and the fate of its 1,500-odd members, a majority of whom are senior citizens.
The club faces closure after the Supreme Court upheld recently a decision taken by the Delhi High Court last year ordering the club’s eviction and hand over to the DLF trust.
Nearly 200 members visit the club daily, just to be able to spend time with the last days of the club. Understandably enough, they are a dejected lot.
“This place has been my second home for 40 years. I don’t know how I’ll pass my time when the club closes,” says Kishori Rani Kapoor, 80, a resident of GK-1.
Satish Shroff, 67, who comes daily from from Faridabad and spends five hours here, says, “I live alone. My husband is no more and my son lives abroad. This place provided me emotional succor. After the club closes down, I will have to live with my son abroad.”
The Club today is a museum of memories—of birthday parties and festivals, of movies, of endless hours spent in the bar.
These days, most of the members can be see exchanging addresses, phone numbers and honest, but difficult to keep promises to stay in touch. “It may not be possible for all of us to keep in touch,” says a sceptical R.K. Trikha, 71, a member for the past 30 years, and who lives alone.
In the restaurant, which was once famous for its food, there’s nothing cooking. A few employees (68 of them, their future is uncertain) are watching TV. Today, the club serves only snacks and tea in the evenings.
“We were famous for our food. We had big functions and parties throughout the year. There used to be carnival-like atmosphere in the evenings; most of the members used to come with their families. Some people used to leave their children here for hours together,” says, Dewan Chand, 53, a member since 1977.
Yogesh Sharma, the club manager, gets nostalgic as he talks about the club. “We used to have so many social activities at the club: Ladies’ day on Tuesday and Friday; film screenings every Saturday. It’s all over now,” says Sharma.
Meanwhile, though the building may still stand there, it’s heart has given up. The lounge, the bar, the gym, the tennis court, the swimming pool... everything is closed. A thick layer of dust covers the furniture in the locked rooms.