Mumbai: A sparkling spectacle of steely splendour met the eyes of early morning walkers at Joggers Park, Bandra, on Wednesday. It is best to cut to the chase right at this point. After all, we, the people, have had enough of standing in lines lately. At the centre of the park, encircled by saplings, stood no less than the mysterious monolith of urban legend.
Local resident Dilip Rastogi and his wife did not even have to whip out their smartphones to google it. Just one look and they knew. “My wife and I spotted the structure and recognised it immediately, having seen pictures of it on social media,” said Rastogi.
Another resident, Ratna Shah said there had been no such structure present the day before. “We asked the guards and other morning walkers but nobody knew how it got there,” she said, pleasantly mystified.
After a series of appearances across the world and closer home, in neighbouring Gujarat, the monolith has debuted in Mumbai, having made landfall at Joggers Park, Bandra west.
Such metal structures have mysteriously appeared and disappeared across the world, leaving people to cast their own theories. The first of these was spotted at a remote canyon in Utah last year.
Subsequently, the structure ‘manifested’ in more than 30 countries including Romania, France, Germany, Canada and Australia. This year, it was first seen at the Symphony National Park, Ahmedabad, until being spotted in Mumbai on Wednesday.
While Joggers Park is maintained by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), nobody was ready to reveal the identity of the sculptor. A local ward official, requesting anonymity, said the structure had been designed by an Ahmedabad sculptor, who has a passion for large, stainless steel art but would like to remain anonymous.
It says so on one of the panels. On another panel, a few numerical codes are engraved. According to the official, these codes represent the geographical coordinates of multiple wildlife national parks and eco-sensitive zones of our country which include – the Jawai Bandh Leopard Conservation Reserve, Ranthambore National Park, Jim Corbett, Kaziranga, Kanha, Sunderbans, Bandipur and Gir national parks.
“The monolith is placed as part of the global campaign launched to spread awareness for protecting the wildlife and ecology and the numerical codes are clues for the curious,” said the official.
“No one knows when the structure was brought inside the park. I learnt about its presence from some citizens,” Asif Zakaria, local Congress corporator told The Free Press Journal.
Local resident and president of Bandra West Residents’ Association (BWRA) Patricia Nath said the structure had created a buzz amongst the citizens.
“People have become inquisitive, as the structure does not reveal much,” Nath told FPJ.
“The artist wants to remain anonymous and we want to keep it that way because only then will it create more buzz amongst the people and Mumbaikars will understand the importance of wildlife protection,” Nath added.
Environmentalist Zoru Bhathena said that it would be a good thing if people could realise the value of nature by seeing this structure.
“Just opposite Joggers Park, there is digging going on for the Bandra-Versova Sea Link Road. I am sure these type of campaigns will draw people’s attention and make them aware of the importance of nature and wildlife,” Bhathena said.