November 27, 2014

Cause I love you, just the way you look tonight.

Chennai at Night

"Lights will guide you home,
And ignite your bones...."
                     Fix you, Coldplay

         For me the best part of a journey by flight between cities has always been that moment when the pilot hovers for a few minutes over the ground, preparing to land. The first few moments before landing, while I stare out of the tiny aircraft window, all I see is the vast ocean of black, a void, a sort of vortex that one would travel through to another dimension. The vortex seems to be dragging you deeper and deeper when, suddenly, there emerges from the endless darkness a couple of tiny twinkling lights. A few moments later, those few tiny lights seem to have grown into a multitude; into big and small, bright and dim colonies.            At this moment the aircraft is gently cruising through thin clouds at a height and angle that is perfect for one to see the profile of their city - the wide highways and railway lines, criss-crossing like the veins in a human hand and looking further, the intricate pattern created by the smaller streets and roof tops. Unlike the day time, the 'night city' does not distract you with the browns and greens of the topography. The night city is like a sky with constellations, connect the lights and you will identify landmarks - major buildings and bridges. 
"Cop lights, flash lights, spot lights,
Strobe lights, streets lights,
All of the lights."
                  All of the lights, Kanye West

         A lot of us often look up to the night sky from our bedroom windows or balconies and gaze at the ethereal beauty of the millions of stars twinkling and blinking like decoration on a Christmas tree. Those who live in the upper floors of a building are people who, I would say, are fortunate enough to experience the best of both : the 'night sky' and the 'night city'. 
         A view, at night, from a flyover or from an overhead metro or just simply from an apartment on the fifth floor is a different experience. This view may not portray the grandeur of the night city from ten thousand feet but what you will see is a silhouette of the skyline against the soft glow of incandescent light. At the horizon beyond the silhouette, the night sky meets the night city to merge into infinity. 

         As a part of the construction industry and having gone through a formal architectural education I have been lucky enough to see and experience things that the average person would not, even in his wildest dreams. Taking strolls at unearthly hours of the day in order to get a little inspiration or to just relax a while during an all-nighter has almost become a usual activity. These night strolls take me through streets which, during the hustle and bustle of the day, I would not have paid much attention to. The lonely streets, illuminated by the dull street lights, exuded an eerie yet tranquil aura which seemed so inviting. The 'night city' had its own tense yet laid-back pace. It is as if, while the people were asleep, the city was preparing for all the activity of the coming day. No doubt, I fallen truly in love with the 'night city'.

"It's hard to believe that there's nobody out there.
It's hard to believe that I'm all alone. 
At least I have her love, the city, she loves me
Lonely as I am, together we cry."
                   City of Angels, Red Hot Chili Peppers.  

Step out after hours and experience the other side of your city. Let the 'night city' take your breath away.        

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