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February 27, 2020 / catherinebwrites

5. INDIA – THE PARKS

INDIA GATE

Family day out

The India Gate monument is in the middle of a park and it is enormous. It was designed by Lutyens to commemorate the Indian soldiers who died fighting for Britain in the first World War.

After five minutes or so we realised we were not being hassled. Wow, the relief! People did ask to take photos with us but, as they weren’t selling anything, or offering to take us to markets, we were happy to stand in the middle of Indian Mammies, Daddies and children and grin .

The park was full of family groups having picnics. Families out for a breath of fresh air with their grannies and children. There were lads selling bottles of water, lads selling chai. Men selling gee-gaws and food and baloons. But no hassle, no hassle at all.

It turns out that all the parks in Delhi are hassle-free. Not only that but they is no sign of the rubbish which is evident everywhere else. So, each time we returned to the capital, we retired to a park when we needed break from the crowds. And each park has it’s own particular vibe.

MANTAR JANTAR

Canoodling Central

Mantar Jantar is what they say in Hindi for Abracadabra.

In the early 1700s a Maharaja with time on his hands, was interested in astronomy and astrology. He had these structures built to tell the time, and to predict the movements of the sun, moon and planets. And it works. There’s another in Jaipur which is even bigger and better. India, of course, has produced noted mathematicians and astronomers since Adam was in the Highlanders.

But nowadays, Mantar Jantar is where young couples come to cannodle. I can think of no other word for what I saw.

Young couples sat in the window sills at the rear of this circular instrument stroking one another’s hair, nuzzling, giggling, and feeding one another pieces of fruit.

Elsewhere, tiny squirrels with black and white stripes down their backs ran about looking for food, and raced up and down trees. Ocasionally they jumped at one another or ran around chasing their tails.

LODI GARDENS

For your high class photos

Lodi gardens were created by an English Memsahib in 1936. She had two villages cleared to create it. What happened the villagers? Who knows?

Mukul Banerjee Photography / Getty Images

It has several 15th-century Mughal monuments. This is the place to go to have your classy portrait photos shot. Wedding? Anniversary? First baby? Dress up to the nines and go along to the Lodi Gardens with your professional photographer and director of photography and clickety click.

There were also several young men throwing Bollywoodshapes while their friends photographed them. One young fellow, sat in the doorway of one of the buildings apparently saluting the sky. But no, he was saluting a drone which hovered at eye level filming him.

CONNAUGHT PLACE

Tick Tock Central

Right in the centre of Connaght Place, surrounded by three circles of traffic, there’s a park with lots of people. Business people having a lunchtime stroll, students sitting in groups listening to somebody giving a talk or school children practising a song. Groups of girls sitting together. Boys photographing themselves but, at the centre of all of this activity is the Tick-Tock gang.

Crowds of young people, mostly young men, gather round a blue painted concrete channel to watch others shoot mini videos for Tick Tock – it’s a YouTube thing.

A lad in a snazzy jacket and huge sunglasses pretends to knock other lads down with film punches. A lad in a snazzy shirt dons goggles and sashays towards the camera with a fierce experession. A girl in a colourful sari dances and sings. When one is done another takes their place and so it goes on. Pretend punches seem to be the favourite of the lads. We only saw the one girl. Girls do upload to Tick Tock but they seem to film themselves at home.

Whenever we passed young guys photographing themselves we called “Bollywood stars!” to them.

They loved it!

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