Dispelling myths: A midnight walk in Agra

The night walk started at 10 PM in front of Pushpanjali hospital. There were 18 of us who joined the experience. The age spectrum starting from people in early 20’s to 80 year olds.

Posing for a group photo near Kandahari chauraha

A few conversations

Neha talked about reclaiming the night as the time of stories and how she has struggled to feel safe in parts of the city where earlier she was repetitively told that she might be abducted or be hurt.

Ayushi took the conversation further talking about how there are so many things that becomes a part of our mental setup that it becomes impossible to break through all those mental barriers even if you consciously work on it.

Chanda told about her experience of the Pakistani prisoners of war that were held at the jail complex which was there at the Sanjay place location. According to her these prisoners had nothing to do and they would just stare outside the whole day and how that gaze used to make her feel strange.

Throughout walking Anal identified the areas of Agra basis on the feeling they gave him. HIG flats became the Vasant Kunj of Delhi, area opposite to St Paul’s school became Chandigarh. There were interesting conversations with Tushar, an architect from Agra, about the various architect styles we can spot in Agra. Ranging from the all pervasive Bauhaus architecture, colonial architecture and early colonial architecture which is a fusion of Mughal and colonial architecture. We also talked about how the HIG flats are the perfect location for doing a street art festival and to make huge graffiti’s.

Passing by the Delhi gate, one in a series of gates constructed in 17th century

Dispelling myths about the city :-

Experiencing the city as a group dispelled a lot of commonly repeated concerns. I felt much safer, there were really not many people on the road who wanted to misbehave with us even though we had a mixed group.

It is always interesting to look at the city in a different light.

We were walking on the night of Holika burning yet there were not as many people who were abbreviated or out of their wits. Yes we encountered a few loud groups but they kept to themselves. There was definitely no violence out there on the streets or hooliganism.

I further think that maybe the threats are more imagined and less real.

Each untoward accident pushes us more and more into homes, so rather than fighting back and reclaiming the city for ourselves we leave it open to miscreants and people who can make us afraid. Maybe there is nothing to be afraid after all or even if there is something to be afraid maybe we can come together and face it.

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed the midnight meandering on the streets of Agra. It enabled me to see the city while going at a slow pace and to appreciate the beauty and serenity of it.

We were greeted by a few smiling families who wished us Holi and I felt like some secret has opened up for me.

I wish more and more people join us on our next night walk, the more of us the better. Let’s get some music, arts and stories in our city, let’s make our city safer for each one of us.

To join us you can drop us a message on agraiscalling@gmail.com along with your mobile number and name.

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