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Delhiwale: The sociology of a road divider

A unique divider runs along Asaf Ali Road in central Delhi.

delhi Updated: Jul 03, 2018 15:20 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Mayank Austen Soofi
Hindustan Times
Delhiwale,Asaf Ali Road,Central Delhi

How much can you say about road dividers?

Of course, they do what they’re intended for. (Usually)

But then there’s that unique divider running along Asaf Ali Road in central Delhi.

For starters, it offers comforting shade. Twisty trees growing along the divider are more than welcomed by tired commuters waiting for the next bus near Broadway Hotel.

That’s not all. Giant tub-shaped flower pots are arranged along a particular stretch, originally meant to “beautify the road”.

There’s frankly more to it than that. Though those pots do nurture wild growths of foliage, they’re mainly just filled with dirt. After nightfall, the pots receive overnight guests — the homeless in the area.

A guy can easily fit into a pot, from head to toe, as though luxuriating in a bath tub. Or so, it may appear from the distance.

There’s a major concern about sleeping so close to speeding traffic. A chat with ragpicker Vijay, slumped over a pot, suggests no real problem as far as he’s concerned. “Traffic fumes kill all the mosquitoes, and it’s very airy here.”

Vijay goes on to say that “you’ll fall asleep within minutes after inserting yourself into the pot, and traffic offers a cooling breeze”.

Now, the headlights of a late-night bus briefly illuminate the profiles of sleeping citizens. As soon as it’s gone, the comforting darkness regains the road.

First Published: Jul 03, 2018 15:19 IST