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Friday, Nov 15, 2019

Gurugramwale: A perfect reading place

When a small church, which remains open daily—from morning to evening, becomes a place to get away from the hectic city life.

gurugram Updated: Jul 24, 2019 15:46 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Mayank Austen Soofi
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
The Church of Epiphany in Gurugram’s Civil Lines.
The Church of Epiphany in Gurugram’s Civil Lines.(HT Photo )
         

So utterly silent that you could hear your own heartbeat. Even the thoughts buzzing inside the head seem too noisy.

This is arguably the most idyllic place in the Futuristic City to constructively invest precious time in cultivating that good old tradition of the past — reading a book.

It’s neither a library, nor a fancy cafe where a cup of so-so coffee comes for the price of a paperback bestseller.

This is the old wing of the Church of Epiphany in Gurugram’s Civil Lines.

The colonial-era landmark appeared in these pages more than a year ago but that dispatch was so taken up with the architecture that it skipped over the church’s other equally impactful aspect— the startling quietness it offers.

It’s a very small monument, in fact, as big as the famous chapel that is in Delhi University’s St Stephen’s College. But the remarkable thing about the church is that it remains open daily, from morning to evening, and anybody can come in at any time of the day (which isn’t true of most churches in the National Capital Region). You just have to take off your shoes outside the door.

Drop by in a weekday afternoon. You would then find nobody but yourself there. This Tuesday afternoon the place is empty. The vacant pews look as mute as sea shells washed over by the last night’s tidal waves. It’s as if some secret machine is emitting invisible noise-blocking substance into the air. Sit beside one of the church’s distinctive tall lancet-shaped windows and open the book you had been planning to finish for a long time.

But perhaps you are not a reading type. Even then you ought to spend some hours here.

The little space is permeated with such tranquil vibes and feels so aloof from the world outside that it swiftly refreshes the crowded mind. You feel you have sneaked out a much-needed break from the chores of everyday life. Indeed, just the act of watching the pattern of the upholstery’s red velvet is calmly. And there’s no one to intrude into this solitary reverie. A window-side nap, too, can invigorate the senses.

Emerging out is like returning from holiday. Come alone.