I kid you not.
There is a pair of emus, living in a small neighbourhood park in Vasant Vihar, in south Delhi. There are loads of other birds there too, and geese and ducks and rabbits, and it’s all quite delightfully eccentric – mainly because it is so totally unexpected.
Your average Delhi colony park is more/less well-maintained, more/less dusty, but this little park (quite close to the Sriram School, for those of you who know the area) is a gem.
Manicured, über-clean, well-maintained, gardeners always working, 2 toilets, gym equipment, benches, a fountain. And 2 emus.
Apparently this is all the work of one man, who lives next to the park, and maintains it at his own expense. (That’s what one of the gardeners told me, the first time I went there).
I imagine said gentleman is called Mr. Garg, since all the ceramic plant pots have “Garg” written on them – actually, glazed onto them, to be more precise.
I’d never heard of the emus until I saw an article in my morning paper some time ago.
One morning, on my way to my usual park to run, I detoured via what I thought was the general direction of the emu park.
Asked a guard.
“Oh”, he replied, “the park with the big birds?” and pointed me in the right direction.
Despite not being a fan of birds in cages, I visited the park 3 or 4 times, secretly hoping to see the emus out wandering.
4 in the afternoon, one mali told me.
1 o’clock, another mali told me.
So I detoured there from time to time, but the emus remained in their cages.
Fast forward to last week.
The Biodiversity Park was still closed, so every evening Himmat & I walked around a different neighbourhood park.
And one evening, we timed it perfectly, arriving in time to see 2 lolloping emus dash out of the cages and run around the lawn.
And then there were two:
All quite delightfully bizarre.