Illustration by arch. Matteo Pericoli.
What follows next, is a beautiful description of a busy street in Delhi, by Rana Dasgupta. From the New York Times, section ¨Windows of the World¨, published February 5th, 2011:
I have come to realize that I do not love solitude as much as I think. It is always with happy anticipation that I arrive in my study: alone, at last, to write! But once the door is closed I have a paradoxical sense of loss, as if I am cut off from my source. Is this why I spend such an unreasonable amount of time staring out the window?
The rampant energy of Delhi, this city of almost 20 million people, presses in on my leafy street. Most families around here arrived as refugees from the horrors of India’s partition in 1947. To protect themselves from such a thing ever happening again, they built solid rows of houses — which are nonetheless turning to vapor in the white heat of the city’s 21st-century economic boom. One of the houses in this drawing has already disappeared, to be replaced, inevitably, by another block of flats. In the top left you can see the steel zigzags of Nehru Stadium, centerpiece of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, whose preparations involved a stupefying scale of destruction and rebuilding around the city.
The street is always active. A young turbaned Sikh paces unceasingly on the balcony opposite, talking on his mobile phone. Migrant laborers working on the new buildings have built lean-tos around the corner; their wives forage for firewood downstairs while their children play with a ball nearby. Passing vegetable sellers sing their wares. Dogs bicker. An old man sits outside in the sun to get a shave from a barber. Neighbors argue over parking spaces.
The silk cotton tree at the center of my view, however, is mute. It saves its energy for the spring, when its vast, red, syrupy flowers will rain, indecently, over everything.
— Rana Dasgupta
Rana Dasgupta is the author, most recently, of “Solo.” Matteo Pericoli, an artist, is the author of “The City Out My Window: 63 Views on New York.” This series inspired students in Boulder, Colo., to write and draw their own views from their windows.