Twenty five years ago when I married and moved to Green Park I realised that our house was beautifully located. The last lane of the colony, no construction can come up behind our house as the Deer Park begins right from there. The green area spreads from Deer Park to the District Park. Both the parks are connected. Also connected to the Deer Park is the Rose Garden which goes up to the IIT campus.
I remember my first visit to the Deer Park and how the sight of all those graceful doe-eyed gazelles left me stupefied. They were meant to be in a zoo, a jungle or a sanctuary. Definitely not in a park behind your house!
When folks enquired incredulously, “Are there really deer in the Deer Park?” I would reply with much pride, “Of course. Otherwise why would they name it Deer Park.”
The park not only has deer but also ducks, rabbits, peacocks and neelgai. Then of course, there are the monkey families which have wandered in from other places and made the park their home. And their stock has grown in this park. They eat whatever people feed them: happily or in fear. There are people who willingly bring bananas or even bread for the monkeys and there are those who drop in fright whatever eatable they are carrying, leaving the monkeys to have a feast right there and then.
And how can I forget the dogs? At last count there were more than 300 dogs in the parks. Since the municipal corporation dog catchers never manage to catch them to sterilise them, their tribe grows. And how!
Where there are peacocks can snakes be far behind? So yes, the park has snakes too and many regular walkers have had snakes crossing their path quite often. Even yours truly, petrified of anything reptilian, has had a snake cross her path thrice! Once at really close quarters. Yet that hasn’t stopped me from going for my regular walk in the park. All it has done on the three occasions is to make me increase my pace so that I can get out of the park quickly!
But all rustles in the bushes are not animals. They are human. Young couples trying to find a quiet corner or bench to neck, fight or just hold hands!
Nevertheless, the wonderful part is the lovely green oasis where one can go for a walk, for a stroll, for a picnic, or to just quietly sit on a bench, read a book or ruminate. And in the middle of all this is the lake surrounded by the ramparts of the Hauz Khas fort on two sides and the park on the other two.
The lake is a visual treat. During the day a flock of ducks is all over the lake and in the evening they head for the small island in the middle. For most of Hauz Khas Village restaurants, the lake is their USP. And the fort walls add to its quaint charm.
A portion of the Rose Garden, as of now, has been taken over by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) but there is still enough of the forest area for a nice walk. The portion with the DMRC is what gives the park its name. The entire area used to be a riot of colours with roses in all hues and sizes in full bloom in season. One hopes that once DMRC leaves, the park will be restored to its original glory.