Friday, November 1, 2013

A Silly Walkathon on a Dilly Flyover!

The 'Dilly' in the title is the Hindi equivalent of Delhi.

I, Shiva and Venkatesh had reached Jangpura Metro Station after dilly dallying on what to do next. [This 'dilly' is different!]  The option of meeting my friend Girish at his Noida Studio where he worked was ruled out following a phone call to him.

Our 12-member cricket team had traveled to Dehra Dun for a tournament.  We had ample time for our next train back to Mysore from Hazrat Nizamuddin [HN] Station at Delhi. We threesome had deposited our luggage in the Cloak room at HN and set about roaming.  Shiva wanted to shop myriad items at Karol Bagh, famous for its street side shopping while I and Venkatesh had nothing much in particular.  First thing we needed badly was lunch because we did/could not have breakfast.  Our fuel tanks were filled at a south Indian restaurant. 

[Click on pictures to enlarge and view]

Shiva is seen here with the red-black sack, eyeing something for his kids while Venkatesh is disinterested and I caught such moments!  After two hours Shiva had his shopping sack full.  Over a cup of coffee at the same restaurant we decided to travel in the Metro to some place to be near HN where we were to board Rajdhani Express. Shiva was guided at the ticket counter at Karol Bagh Metro that Jangpura was closest to HN Station. 

We found ourselves resting a short while [marked B in picture below] outside the Jangpura Metro Station [marked A].  It was quarter past five.  The Sun was lowering. Our train was at ten to nine.  My call to Girish at this stage was decisive that we must reach HN and not loiter anywhere else. From Point B we walked a short distance to Lala Lajpatrai Road looking for some mode of transport to reach HN. 

A passing man with a wave of the hand told that HN was just "ten to fifteen minutes away" from there.  He pointed the flyover under which we were standing.  It was the 'Barapullah Elevated Road'. 

A battery trike came to us. This is a new 'green' silent thing in Delhi to reduce pollution.  Pictured left is one at Karol Bagh, the modern version of the Harley Taxi Trikes of yore that roamed Delhi [called Phut-phut] spewing smoke and making noise and they needed no horns!  On inquiry, the green-triker quoted seventy five rupees for three persons to take us to HN.  Wisdom did not prevail.  He went away disagreeing to our bargained fare of sixty.  There was one cycle rickshaw on the opposite side of Lala Lajpatrai Road [see sat-pic above].  Only cars and two-wheelers are allowed on flyovers.  The mention of our destination [HN], put him off, but he too showed the direction waving his hand "just walk on the flyover for ten - fifteen minutes and you will see at Nizamuddin Station on the left".   This "ten to fifteen minutes distance" tallied in our 3 inquiries and this is why we decided to give it a go on foot.  
Some Jane Austen had quoted "When an opinion is general, it is usually correct."

We began our walk in the direction marked in green from the point marked D in the satellite picture above. That is where the 'elevated road' descended to join Lala Lajpatrai Road and we were to walk opposite the traffic direction.  [The satellite images shown here show very very sparse traffic.] It was peak hour at half past five and one knows how 'peak hour traffic' can be.

The sun had set behind us.  But there was to be skylight for another 20 minutes or so. We found ourselves with traffic on our left walking in single file, inside the narrow gap between the yellow line and the parapet. 

This web-picture will give an idea. See the parapet and the yellow line and estimate the gap and imagine car tyres zooming close to the yellow line.  

Soon, we were high on the road and the one already running high when we started the ascent, was now side by side. We walked those 15 minutes indicated by the people, then 30 minutes.  By then it was dark.  The lamp posts were all lit and the solar road blinkers fixed at intervals along the yellow line had been activated.

The distinctive tombs of Isa Khan and Humayun which we used as some sort of index to our left had disappeared far behind us. 

The 30 minutes was now 45 and the Delhi skyline looked something like this.  The road we were walking on seemed to take us to oblivion. 

Actually, what is pictured above from the web search is the same road at the time of its inauguration.  In fact, I came to identify the names of roads during my web search for this post!

It was peak hour and with no respite cars were zooming past at great speed.  We would get run out [as in cricket] if we left the yellow line!  We had to keep our concentration tight because the sides of cars were so close to our elbows at times and the drivers never expect people to be walking on flyovers!  
Only nuts walk at such places! And we were three! 

Stench from the Barapullah Nala  which was flowing beneath kept us constant company even when we were at its pinnacle almost as high as Qutab Minar's 72.5 metres, or so I thought!  See this link:  -- The flyover is under construction. 

See the picture below. The Road we had taken seemed to be running in the wrong direction because we were definitely aware that HN was towards our left!  We noticed that the other road running side by side on our left had to be the right one.  It had been running close most of the while and we noticed the gap widening!  So we HAD to cross flyovers!!

We were on the outer side.  The road had to be crossed first to be able to evaluate the gap between the two flyovers.  It can be an illusion from across the road. We had to wait for a small respite in traffic that had been zooming all along.  Crossing the road was so risky, riskier than taking a run in front of Ricky Ponting!  We took the run safely waiting for the right moment.  

I remembered to take a picture before we crossed over, of traffic below us.  A portion of the parapet pipe support is visible at the left corner.

The gap between the two flyovers was about 2 feet and appeared 'crossable'.  One by one we did.  A helping hand was needed.  We had to pass on the back-sacks and had to climb the parapet empty handed for proper balance and no distractions.  There was the Nala beneath, watching us from the gap!  Crossing was another silly thing we had to do.  We had to grip-hold the thick safety pipe on the parapet and also slide down to land our feet.  At one point we had one leg each on the two flyovers.  The only thing we did not do was lift our hands there and say 'Hurray!' which could have been the last!! 

Our hands and pants were dirty from this, but this is what nuts doing such things will end up with!  It was okay!

Now our hopes of reaching HN sooner, brightened up with the cross over.  All the while we hoped none of 
us three nuts would get knocked over by speeding quads - hundreds of them had crossed us from as close as one foot or two feet. Now we were moving in the direction of traffic on this Elevated Road.  I tried to pencil the picture in cross-section.

At the 'jump-over', it appeared to be only at half way stage of the silly adventure!  This road too seemed to go far and taking us left, in the direction we had assumed.  We were right -- to our left!!   Hitch-hiking was not considered, because of prevailing distrust in public following 

Finally, after more than an hour, we found the Elevated Road losing elevation, quicker than we were losing our energies and patience!  Suddenly we felt a rejuvenation and found someone to inquire where HN is.  "There it is, just there to the left."  Yes, no more guesswork this time, it was just there to the left and we were soon at Hazrat Nizamuddin - Entry 2.  It was like winning a Delhi Marathon!  Phew!

I had decided during this Silly Walkathon itself that if I returned home safe, I would check on G-map to see how much this ridiculous adventure measured. It showed 4 kms, [blue line, Point A to B] but we felt it was 6. The 'estimated'15 minutes was actually 70-80 minutes long! 

There were feelings about 'next time we should not do such a thing' and the likes, but 'such things' occur blindfolding wisdom!  They just happen and by the time we realize the mistake, we are already wrong!  There wont be a repetition but there can be a new wrong!!  That was surely a once-in-a-lifetime silly thing that happened and hence this post!  I now want to link this post to Jane Austen!


Susan Hirneise Moore said...

I love this line from your new MM post, Dinu: There wont be a repetition but there can be a new wrong!!
I read with bated breath your story! Great job! Great story!
I must put a link to this on my FB wall....

Kumar Sharma said...

This too has been interesting to read, as usual, being your blog, Dear Dinu. You seem to have a penchant for such adventures! That too is a Gift of God! Have more fun this way with youngsters who could be your kids' ages - and feel younger yourself too. As it is, playing Cricket at your Age is quite an achievement and added to that you land up with these nice adventures. It has been over 25 years since I last went to Delhi and this gives me a good picture of what it is now! Thank you for your interesting stories: let's have more of them in print.