Delhiwale: A walk in the sky

Discovering the joys of the pedestrians’ infrastructure
Most people use the Pragati Maidan skywalk or footbridges for the purpose they were inaugurated last year for —to walk to their respective destinations without having to cross the traffic-clogged roads.(HT Photo)
Most people use the Pragati Maidan skywalk or footbridges for the purpose they were inaugurated last year for —to walk to their respective destinations without having to cross the traffic-clogged roads.(HT Photo)
Updated on May 20, 2019 11:35 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Mayank Austen Soofi

It’s as if an artistic child had scribbled lines across a blank page. Or this is at least how the Pragati Maidan footbridges, or the skywalk if you will, look like from the ground.

Most people use these picturesque entanglements of pathways for the purpose they were inaugurated last year for —to walk to their respective destinations without having to cross the traffic-clogged roads. These passages, however, can also be enjoyed for purposeless strolls. Maybe it happened by chance, but this is one of the few airy public places of our walker-unfriendly city, apart from parks, where you can walk for long without any danger of being hit by a car. Such an opportunity makes space for you to let your senses loose and take in the rhythms of the city’s hubbub. Take any of the connecting bridges and you will be overlooking several roads as well as all the swarm of traffic and pavement vendors that blossoms around them. This might actually be one the best places to witness the move, and stop, and move, and stop of life as traffic lights alternate between green and red.

But there’s life on the bridges too. This evening, a gloomy-looking couple is holding hands while heading towards the Supreme Court exit. A man is mopping the bridge’s passageways. Now, a man in a shirt, pants and tie stops and stands by the railing, silently looking towards the horizon. Indeed, a lot of loners are spread across this network of sky bridges, lost in their own worlds. This is also an idyllic place for train spotters. You see the Metro trains running on the overland track of course, but the greater romance is in gazing upon the long distance express trains shuttling over the ITO Rail Bridge. It seems to be just a jump away (don’t try, it’s an illusion). Right now a train with AC red coaches is shuttling along slowly.

These sky bridges acquire even more beauty during the late night hours. Then, their empty corridors feel like the haunting lanes of a ruined city whose residents have left for some other land.

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Friday, October 22, 2021