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Delhiwale: Path to utmost happiness

The yellow of amaltas, the pink of bougainvilleas and the resounding peace of Buddha, all come together at this park

delhi Updated: Jun 06, 2018 08:29 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Mayank Austen Soofi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhiwale,Buddha Jayanti Park,Delhi gardens
Tucked within a wild ridge, the lush green gardens at the Buddha Jayanti Park are a joy unto themselves.(HT photo)

All pathways, it seems, lead to Buddha. Which is a trifle ironic, since Buddha once suggested there is no path to happiness. “Happiness is the way,” he declared, and this understanding makes sense while wending one’s own way to the great statue — so serene — at the Buddha Jayanti Park.

It is so beautiful here that even a steamy afternoon feels hospitable. These lush gardens in central Delhi are a joy unto themselves.

Tucked within a wild ridge, the park becomes the perfect refuge for all sorts of romantic couples sheltered behind every rock and tree, far from prying eyes, far from crowded neighbourhoods.

And just because these lovers are hidden from instant view you get the sense that these flowery gardens, commanded by blooming Amaltas trees are, well, almost devoid of humankind.

This afternoon we spot only one solitary person — a young woman in a salwar-kameez sleeping on the grass, her face covered with a blue dupatta.

Further along, two gardeners are hurling stones at a mango tree to dislodge the fruit. And here’s the Buddha sitting atop a small island in the centre of a pond enclosed in a giant glass case, as if care has been taken that neither the birds nor the Delhi smog can intrude into his meditation.

The world seems in utmost peace.

A few white ducks are padding about in a corner. Tibetan flags are fluttering along the metal handrail. A rock is inscribed with the words of Dalai Lama, dated 1993.

The pond is flanked by both amaltas and bougainvilleas, their yellow and pink reflection in the water giving the illusion of a Monet canvass.

And yet, Buddha remains composed, immersed in his own inner self — not an easy thing for mortals like us when confronted with such heart-stirring beauty.

A BOND BY THE ROADSIDE

The man and the woman are quietly sitting on the pavement, watching the rush-hour evening traffic.

But why is Shivam inside the mosquito net and Rehana outside it?

“Too many mosquitoes,” Shivam explains, quite logically. “I feel trapped inside the net,” says Rehana. “And mosquitoes seem to prefer Shivam over me.”

Both live on this south Delhi pavement. “We earn what we can by doing labour now and then,” says Shivam. Rehana points out, “Shivam and I are friends...”

Gesturing towards her, Shivam talks about how there are evenings when he prepares ‘khana’ for Rehana and how sometimes she cooks food for him. The blue mosquito net, he reveals, was purchased by Rehana for ͉150. “She spent her own money.”

Rehana looks up towards the birds in the sky, as if she hasn’t noticed that her generosity is the subject of the ongoing conversation.

Even as both continue to chat, their expressions remain serious, the way people tend to be when discussing matters too solemn for light-hearted joviality. Soon, they are joined by three stray dogs. One of the dogs quietly sits beside Rehana.

She moves closer to the mosquito net, her head coming to rest on Shivam’s arm. After a long pause, she says, “We’ll soon be marrying... maybe by next year.”

First Published: Jun 06, 2018 08:29 IST