A column on Delhi's hidden parks and a fun thing to do around them.
Here’s what you remember of the Delhi zoo: it’s fifteen years ago and you’re standing in an orderly queue in your school uniform, your best friend’s hand sticky in yours; your teacher’s telling you not to fidget; your picnic lunch is a soft cheese sandwich and a box of juice. You remember the big cats, the smell of their cages, you recall making faces at the monkeys, and you remember your bus ride home. Now if we were to suggest a trip back to the zoo, you’d go all ape sh** on us.
What if we say the tour could end in happy hour drinks? We know you’re intrigued.
A Bird in the Hand
While looking for a pretty park last week, we meandered into the zoo one morning, and apart from a few school children and the occasional tourist, we had it all to ourselves. Inside, enclosed by crumbling walls of the Old Fort, the zoo is filled with green lawns shaded by leafy canopies. There are also huge open enclosures for migratory birds and you can catch them during the right time of the year, but for now, watch the geese diving for breadcrumbs, admire the cassowary and listen to the koel in the trees.
Avoid spots near cages with larger animals, since that’s where the crowd is. Instead, walk down towards the sambar deer, stop at a pretty bench and pretend you’re somewhere else altogether.
Getting there: Mathura Road, from 9 am to 6 pm, closed on Friday, entry Rs 20.
The nearby Foreign Correspondent’s Club is a bit of an open secret among Delhi’s journalists. Technically, you have to be a member to get in, but we’ve managed to sashay our way through with just the right amount of confidence and sweet talk. And you can too. Thursday is the night to attend, that’s the big “FCC night”, and since there’s already a large crowd, you’re less likely to be checked. Go for the cheap alcohol (happy hours announced regularly on the Facebook group), the tandoori food and the open lawn space. Eavesdrop on a nearby table and you might hear next day’s big scoop!
Getting there: AB-19, Mathura Road, call 23388535 or visit the Facebook group here approximately Rs 180 for Stella Artois.