WALKING IN CITY FORESTS.
Walk 1: Sanjay Van
26 Feb 2020
We left at around 3pm. And we had till sunset.
Entrances to forests interesting. Sometimes they are abrupt, at other times they take you through a journey.
Walking into Sanjay Van from the Mehrauli entrance is like walking on a path of time moving towards the past. Tar road gives way to a mud path.
On the mud path, there are trees on both sides and a few timeless looking fakirs sitting on a piece of cloth. At first it would seem like the most obscure and pointless place to sit to recieve help. There was no one around and the afternoon sun was out in full force. The path widens, there is a small dargah and a well. Few people sitting beside the well under a tree.
Keekar trees in this season are changing colour. New light bright green is coming.
Delhi has been inhabited since 6th century BC.
(What does time mean here. We are in the 21st century AD. 2020 years and then some 600 years before. Its been inhabited for around 2,500 years. And the story obviously starts from Yamuna. In the timeline of forests - 2500 years is not much. 3 generations of old growth trees.
((the oldest individual tree in the world was Methuselah, a 4,845-year-old Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) in the White Mountains of California. ))
This article talks about a 9000 year old clonal tree.
I am not particularly interested in histories of Delhi. But one cannot really escape the history in Delhi. The sense of being inhabited for a long time does not escape any corner of the city.
It is an interesting and slightly ironic endeavour to look for forests in one of the most densely human populated space - both in time and space.
It is so hectic - both historically and physically.
It is possible that this incident portal will be yet another layer inhabiting the city forests more.
But humans are so transient that it doesn't matter. As long as they do not carry intransigent things like plastics.
And where we came out of was surreal. We just dropped back into the city from an opening in a wall beside a Dhaba.
A day is not one day. A day is a lot of tiem. A lot of different kinds of time.
It felt like I had come to Delhi for teh first time.
They are not forests in the real sense, but of what we have around us, these are dense forests.
One of my observation was the almost continous sound of planes. There would be silence layered with sounds of insects and birds. Just about when the city in the distance would begin to sublimate, a loud sound from far and above, tearing across the sky would fill the space. Every other sound would seem fading. After the passing of the plane, like nothing- life continued. But this kept happenning. Every 10 minutes. sometimes 15 minutes.
these sonic impressions in the umwelts of those oocupying the forests, but before I could do it, things changed, the quarentine began. Airports shut down. Now in the forest, there is no sound from the planes. When I was there, in the forest, tiny and large, in the scale of things in the forest, I thought that the planes were just part of the larger scheme now. I could never have imagined any force could stop flights and cargo. No human force could have stopped the global movement of other humans.
The forests are safe right now. They are safe from humans. And also safe for humans. There is no noise of planes or traffic. I wish I could be socialy isolated in the forest.
26th March 2020
Walk 2: Biodiversity park, Gurugram.