The sky is blue, the grass is wet and the flowers are blooming. Delhi’s strangest and shortest season — from mid-February to mid-March — has begun. Neither hot, nor cold, the city sheds its harsh tones and pretends to be gentle.
To soak in the weather, you may go to any of its open spaces — Lodhi Garden, Shantipath lawns, India Gate Maidan, Purana Quila ruins, Dilli Haat, or Ansal Plaza’s amphitheatre. But the best is in Connaught Place — the park above Palika Bazaar parking.
It is bright and cheery, perfumed and coloured. Dahlias are dyed in shades of orange, yellow and passionate red. The yellow and white sunflowers are shiny enough to be mistaken for plastic.
Purple orchids shake their stalks wildly as if drunk on their own juice. Greedy bees work overtime. But they make just half the story.
The beautiful people
The best part of the park’s lovely atmosphere, at this time of the year, is the crowd. Perhaps because it lies in the heart of Delhi, it attracts people from all walks of life — vagabonds, office workers, college students, romantic couples and compulsive loners.
Mothers feed babies beside the sunflower hedges. Lovers eye each other across wild orchids. Jobless men sun themselves on the grass. Students share notes on the benches.
Music lovers listen to Bollywood songs on their cell phones. Almost all take off their shoes and sandals to feel the springtime dampness of the grass on their naked feet.
“During this season, I spend my lunch break here daily,” says Sanjeev Sinha, a shop assistant in Connaught Place. “The flowers are stunning and the mild sun is like a gift from God.”
Another delightful aspect of the park is the unrestricted view of the city skyline and the sound of the traffic, which enhance the preciousness of the flowers.
In the shielded beauty of, say, Lodhi Garden, you take the colourful flora for granted. But amid Connaught Place’s concrete clutter, nature’s bounty seems valuable. You know it is fleeting and unreal, like this season.