In the midst of pre-monsoon showers, Delhi got a glimpse of the monsoon’s first day. Akshara, the cosy theatre next to RML Hospital, staged Mohan Rakesh’s Ashadh Ka Ek Din, based on the love story of classical Sanskrit poet and playwright Kalidas. Celebrating the onset of the rainy season in the North, the play brought the audience quite close to the monsoon magic. There were such thunder and lightning effects during the play that one believed it was raining outside the theatre as well. The audience consisted of young people who thought the weather was right to enjoy the play.
Kalidas and his beloved Mallika talked of the beautiful hills and greenery surrounding their village. Their descriptions made everyone feel that Delhi too was turning green in the rains. The ambience was romantic. Mallika comes from rain and wonders why emotions turn into poetry. The story takes a turn when an official of the Ujjain King’s court tells her the King wants to honour him. Mallika lets Kalidas go to Ujjain. When they meet again after years, it is yet another day of the onset of Ashadh, the rainy season, with lightning and thunder in the skies. The play was staged for the second time in two years. Rama Yadav, who played Mallika’s role, was also the director of the play. She said theatre would not survive without its audience and was happy the show was house full.
Not just theatre, Delhi streets too were brimming with life last week. The weather was without the harshness of previous weeks. In place of koels’ songs announcing the mango season, one could hear peacocks giving loud calls to welcome rains. People turned out in large numbers to pray at Bangla Sahib Gurdwara and take a round of India Gate environs. The Metro was running full. There was no evidence needed to say that Delhi responds to weather. The intermittent rainfall convinced everyone that the worst was over. The India Gate roundabout had crowds enjoying street food, taking selfies.
Unmindful of the restrictions that construction work in the vicinity placed, families with children were enjoying their picnic in the open spaces. Although Delhi has some large parks, a big zoo, several monuments with gardens and the Central Vista lawns, these are not enough to accommodate the crowds keen to enjoy a day out. The metropolis caters to the needs of several NCR towns also. There are convenient means to come to Delhi, like train and Metro services. But Delhi remains a dusty town, with only a small choice of places to relax.
Children are excited when they reach Central Secretariat Metro station. They are impatient to know from where they should exit to reach India Gate. The innocent crowds do not know that it is still a long walk away. The pre-monsoon weather of the city, however, compensates for the loss of energy the young crowds suffer in reaching Delhi’s landmark Gate. After that, it is time to enjoy.