Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Photo Essay: The Love Birds of Lodhi Garden

Spying on Delhi 'couples' in the historic Lodhi Garden - with a discreet digicam.

[Text and photographs by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Once declared by Time Magazine as the Best Urban Oasis of Asia, Lodhi Garden is a public park in New Delhi. Generously sprinkled with tombs and trees, it is frequented by top politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen, diplomats and other Very Important People (VIPs). It is also a refuge for lovelorn couples.

Sun's Last Ray Shimmers on a Ruined Tomb Before the Evening Sets In

A life without love is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead – Oscar Wilde

Lovers are boring. There is nothing new about them. They are occupied in doing exactly the things that millions of people have already done before them. These lovers have no eagerness to the surrounding world. Their eyes do not see beauty in the flowers. Their skins do not tremble under the cool shade of the thick trees. Their hands do not feel the fresh wetness of the evening grass. Their ears do not hear the chirping of the birds. Their sensibilities do not get invigorated by the sight of decaying monuments. Their nerves do not get nervous as the blue sky gradually shuts down to the darkness of the dusk. The lovers are immune to the worldly senses. They have no interest in anything that does not add up to their lover. Oh yes, lovers are boring people.

Lodhi Garden Lovers - On the Grass

Lodhi Garden Lovers - On the Bench

Lodhi Garden Lovers - On the Slope

There is no remedy for love but to love more - Henry David Thoreau

Lovers are careless. They are not bothered with the demands of the world. All the cares dissolve down into the substance of the lover. The entire universe gets secreted into the being of that person. Nothing seems important other than the lover. The hustle-bustle of the larger life ceases. All other significant relations - parents, siblings, friends, colleagues - are silenced; their existence reduced down to the melodious hum of the surrounding traffic that whirrs dreamily around the circumference of the garden. Everyone and everything is forgotten. Oh yes, lovers are careless people.

Lodhi Garden Lovers - Under a Tree

Lodhi Garden Lovers - Under a Shrub

Lodhi Garden Lovers - In the Arms

Come live with me and be my love – Christopher Marlowe

Lovers are exhibitionists. They display private acts in public spaces. Their hands slither down on the other's hands. Their lips brush the other's lips. Their thighs rub the other's thighs. Their foot entangle into the other's foot. They fingers play around with the other's fingers. Their heads settle down into the other's shoulder. They chest presses into the other's breast. Their body merges into the other's body - in front of the entire world! Oh yes, lovers are exhibitionist people.

Lodhi Garden Lovers - In Another World

Lodhi Garden Lovers - Under a Tomb

Love is not love, that alters when it alteration finds – William Shakespeare

Lovers are daring. The lovers conduct their love lives away from the prying eyes of the curiosity-seekers. There are parents to deceive. There are friends to ignore. Living in a culture that frowns on a girl choosing to have good time with a boy who is not her husband, the lovers have to go to great lengths to keep the affair discrete. With such considerations in mind, they drive to gardens situated far away from their neighborhoods so that no family friend or a relative see them together. In making love to people who are strangers to their families, the girls risk their reputations and the boys their respect. Oh yes, lovers are daring people.

Lodhi Garden Lovers - Under a Bridge

Lodhi Garden Lovers - By a Dried-up Pond

Romantic love is an illusion – Thomas Moore

Lovers are dreaming fools. Their world is false. The lovers are stupid to fall in love with people who do not belong to their caste. Sometimes, even their religions are different. Occasionally, their families speak different languages and cook different cuisines at home. The lovers forget, momentarily, that they have the aspirations of their parents and the legacies of their families to preserve. That their life is not just their life. In one person lie dreams of many people. The lovers overlook that the world does not consist of just the lovers. They carry on with their romance. They continue seeking dark corners in secret gardens to knit the dreams of a future in which they fancy to live the rest of their live together. Fools! Oh yes, lovers are dreamy, foolish people.

Lodhi Garden Tree - Somebody Loves Somebody



zzz-writer said...

this is a beautiful blog you have here. i stumbled upon this and now am glad that i did.
shall visit you again my fellow dilli wala

Mayank Austen Soofi said...

Dear fello Dilli Wala,
Thanks for your complement. You shall be always welcome here.

Smita said...

I have grown up in Delhi and i simply love the place. Its crazy, its romantic, its filthy and its a very important part of me.
Lodhi garden has been one place that has stayed constant in my life. Its where i learnt how to walk, played badminton and spent quality time with family.

Simply loved your post on the garden... brought back a lot of memories of me and my sister ... laughing away at couples canoodling everywhere.
Keep it up!

Anjuli said...

but you have to admit that the Lodhi garden brings out the best in lovers!!

ishita said...

Living away from lovely, dirty, wonderful Delhi for the last four years, reading your blog takes me home for a short while. Thank you for that...

sachin said...

Nice blog, I feel it absolutely true. Lodhi garden is one of those places on earth which automatically stimulates one's romantic feelings. Just love this place....Lover's Paradise..

anirudh said...

dear mayank..

i have been reading the ins and outs of your words for the past 3 months of forever...

the holidays u spend in the airy sweaty suites of a dtc bus, the pauses of your walk on a click of entangled wires, and all the associated street poetry.. is somewhat close to enchanting the regular..

the pleasure of reading is here..yes here.. may god keep u indulged in the nothingness of the "wholly city"

Ali-G said...

Wow Delhi Walla what a beautiful Blog man. Your Blog took me back in my memories in Delhi. I was Born in Afghanistan and raised in Delhi . I was 14 when we moved to Toronto Canada. Its been 9 years since i have left Delhi, I miss Lodi Garden, i miss everything about India. Thanks for putting this Blog up man, i really like your Blog Superrrrrrrb.

Anonymous said...

its a taunt to the world....its visible. very sarcasticaly u have done that...
i am now seeinf all those love birds in garnden with different point of view

shabnam said...

Wow! well-written and so well illustrated. Good work

Mahender Singh said...

in third picture from top i was shocked if that's not me..? lol.. really once me and she went their and she was in that same dress..

well this is really romantic place, no one ask u anything.. no one disturbs.. its really very beautiful place and beauty adds when we are with our love.

just one thing..
from last two visits i founf some "hijharas" visit park and forc love birds for money or they start to insult the couple.. this is really very bad thing.
they charged me 100 at diwali and 50 on last visit.. oh god..

Subhash Chandra Bohra said...

Nice pictures,
Lage raho

Subhash Chandra Bohra said...

nice pictures
lage raho