Somehow, accidentally or intentionally, I had a brief encounter with Delhi. The capital holds a certain charm, captivating each passer-by. The capital has a story to tell, a story quite unique, different from the rest of India. The enticing prospects of the city begin with the speeding BMWs, Mercs, Bentleys and all the world’s finest cars. Though the realization of being in India comes, when those cars zip past the slums. Delhi is at its heart a city of dreams, dreams which are never realized, dreams which are conquered and dreams which are yet to be seen. Delhi isn’t as welcoming a city though it has everything what it takes to bind the people. It has so much to offer, you just need to find things which charm you and you can stick to them as long as you want or with your struggle you might end up getting all those things around.
The hopes, the aspirations that the city is able to arouse are clearly visible in the eyes of the people. Climb in any metro and you would get to know what Delhi is all about. There are eyes filled with hopes, dreams and aspirations to make it large, there are others with certain gloom and disappointment. Some are romantically secluded, some just lonely. Some eyes carry the pride of achievement a sense of fulfillment of purpose and some are just content otherwise. The mornings usually tell the story of energy, hopes and persistence, the evenings are result oriented; some happy, some content, some overjoyed some gloomy. In those gloomy eyes too I find certain zeal to come back again and give it another shot. From shabbily dressed people to executives you find the social gap almost abridged. You find children filled with an awe for life, its methods and its learnings. You see warmth being exchanged not bothered about the world. The metro most certainly is the soul of Delhi.
Delhi is India’s gateway to the world, the culture is so influenced by what’s happening around the far west. The two lettered word, the hub for the cross-culture movement, yes DU. If there exist something as losing your own identity disorder, then believe me this place has maximum number of patients. But unarguably the people there do reflect the changing scenario in India. With DU come the DU girls. To define them it would take ages, but choosing my words from the famous think different commercial of Apple Inc. “They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.”
For some they are the best incentives on the planet, for some the most ruthless breed of humans and for a few ignorant some they are just another species of slaves of the west.
South Delhi is the geographic center for power and money. The lush green area with large bungalows and few of the most talked about addresses in the country creates some psychological perception beyond comprehension, you do not know what it is but there is a different sensation in the mind.
Once you reach Rajpath, the ceremonial boulevard of India it’s an altogether a different feeling. The chest expands with pride, the shoulders broaden, the spine straightens and the head rises high, maybe sound a little crazy but it all did happen to me. You get the sight of the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the Sansad Bhawan and various ministerial blocks. The ecstasy of being an Indian reaches the maximal. Walk down a little more and stand beneath the India Gate, your head rises higher, the hand automatically reaches the forehead to salute the brave sons of the soil.
Connaught Place, another landmark place to visit in Delhi. Suddenly the world turns black and white, the days of the British Raj are back close your eyes and feel the Indian sepoys in their half pants policing the area, the English saheb roaming around in the old ford T models etc now a vintage thing and the ladies shopping around. “Indians not allowed” type of place.
Finally how can I not choose to mention the Bhartiya Prodyogiki Sansthan (Indian Institute of Technology or IIT Delhi), though missed by many, its a quintessential part of the city, the territory of the super brainy, the whiz kids, who are just a gang of nerds for the rest of the city but every once in a while they catch the eye with their 6-7 figure pay packages featured in the national dailies. The IIT campus gives a feel of the cocoon, which would break one day every year and hundreds of butterflies would fly.
And again in Delhi too you might find the wandering soul in the same old black tee with “United Mysteries of India”.
As I have missed quite a few places there, I would just end up with our favorite ekta kapoor punch line “To be continued…”