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Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019

Delhiwale: Have you heard mysterious music on Max Mueller Marg after dark?

It’s lights out at Max Mueller Marg. You don’t expect anyone here so late, so who’s playing those old songs?

delhi Updated: Dec 06, 2017 10:12 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Mayank Austen Soofi
Hindustan Times
The busy Max Mueller avenue is a quiet place at night, with no one apart from surreal shadows and some guards.
The busy Max Mueller avenue is a quiet place at night, with no one apart from surreal shadows and some guards. (Mayank Austen Soofi / HT Photo)

More people than you think fall asleep ever so gently while listening to old Hindi film songs on their radio sets.

We’ve now discovered an entirely new way to experience these songs. A midnight stroll along Max Mueller Marg does the trick.

The other night, we were savouring the pleasantly cool air in central Delhi’s tree-lined avenues. We walked past formidable bungalows on Amrita Shergill Marg, came down along a slightly smoggy Lodhi Road, and turned on to Max Mueller Marg.

During the day, the busy avenue is home to prominent institutions such as the World Wildlife Fund and the India International Centre. But at this time, there was no one apart from us and the surreal shadows of leaves falling from the trees along the pavement.


Then something strange happened. We heard a familiar song, wafting in from nowhere — ‘din dhal jaye hai raat na jaye’ from the film Guide.

Who was playing Mohammad Rafi this late at night? The penny dropped. It had to be a lonely security guard!

We walked on. Moments later, the same song again, dispensing a kind of melancholy in the midnight breeze. Yes, it was yet another security guard biding his time with a familiar refrain.

We stopped and quietly eavesdropped, imagining the life of the guard we could not see. The song ended. We walked on. Another building, another song. It was like walking into a strange new world with a Rafi soundtrack.

We went back the next night, too, to check if it was a fluke. It wasn’t.


First Published: Dec 06, 2017 10:11 IST

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