Delhi is waking up to a new reality in which the presence of others is at once thrilling and disconcerting.
On a regular morning, the road that rings India Gate and the newly-erected war memorial would be a giant traffic snarl, with cars making their way to government buildings and private sector employees headed towards Connaught Place. On May 5th, however, the area is deserted, devoid of life.
To watch a city that is said to be expanding by 100 people an hour, making it the world’s fastest-growing urban sprawl, grind to an abrupt halt, is not easy. Noise, integral to the modern sensory realm, has all but disappeared. And even those who had bemoaned the incessant incursions of the city’s sounds into their domestic and work lives have been forced to rethink notions of space and privacy. Like Asha, many have found the chaos that is India to be intrinsically linked to their identities. Now the city is slowly coming back to life, like a rusty engine warming up.