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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Murder of the Boat Club Lawns

Time used to be, when on cool evenings, Delhiites would stream down to Rajpath, and park their cars, bikes and scooters, unpack their dinners, and have picnics. Balloon sellers would roam through the families picknicking on the lawns, chaatwalaahs would weave through the crowds, and ice-cream carts would be parked on the corners. For Delhiites, traumatized by the heat and dust, the green lawns, the water in the shallow pools, all would be a welcome relief...
No longer. The Sultan, or  in this case, the present Police Commissioner of Delhi, in his Majestic Wisdom, has decreed that parking cars or bikes on Rajpath obscures the view. So no cars shall be parked.  So, can they be parked elsewhere? No, thunders the Sultan. No, no, there is no space for parking them elsewhere, because this is a high-security area, and we will tow away any vehicle that is parked any where off Rajpath.
So, the last refuge of the heat-shocked Delhiite is now gone.
Yesterday, I crossed Rajpath.
Heavy yellow iron police barricades bar anyone from driving down rajpath. The lawns are dark and deserted.
The balloon sellers have gone away, chased away by the police. The ice-cream carts have been confiscated, and rust away outside police-stations...
Will spring come again? Yes, when the present Sultan either retires, or is transferred to another dusty town, or is caught with his hands in the till or his pants down..
Till then, the Commissioner hath decreed there shall be no life on Rajpath, and laughter on the lawns, and so shall it be....

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