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Twilight in Delhi

And night came striding fast, bringing silence in its train, and covered up the empires of the world in its blankness of darkness and gloom…

entertainment Updated: May 29, 2010 00:51 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi

In summer, the twilight hour brings such relief. When the sun is going down, you must stand under the Barakhamba traffic light in Connaught Place. The sky is streaked with shades of orange. The pedestrians begin losing their three-dimensional solidity and turn to papery shadows. The cars move in a slow motion. You feel like being inside a surreal art-house movie.

Or, go to Humayun’s Tomb and watch the sun set standing in front of Afsarwalla makbara, an unknown tomb. Not the principal attraction in the monument complex, the ruin’s desolation harmonises with that of the dusk. Or, go to Vijay Chowk and walk towards Rashtrapati Bhawan, the President’s residence. Clinging to the gate, you will find the sun trying to hide behind the Bhawan’s walls.

Or, go to the departure lounge of Terminal 1D, Delhi Airport, and watch the planes taking off to their destinations, from the terimal’s viewing gallery, which looks to the western sky. The boeings seem to fly straight into the dying sun. Or, go to a friend’s terrace in Kalkaji and try measuring the scope of her loneliness as she silently watches the city lights.

Or, go to Jama Masjid with Ahmed Ali’s novel Twilight in Delhi and read its final passage: “He lay on the bed, too feelingless to sit up or think. The sun went down and hid his face. The sparrows found their nests. And night came striding fast, bringing silence in its train, and covered up the empires of the world in its blankness of darkness and gloom…”