Friday, April 25, 2008

Learning Delhi Decorum

Can you name a city which thrives in contradictions, boasts of its greed with a very apparent pride and is unabashedly character-less in its dealings ?Even Mumbai (before Raj Thackerey happened) could claim a transparent character. But Delhi is unusual. A city on steroids all the time , a city which calls for more questions than it can afford to answer …..a city where power driven schizophrenia is a norm of day to day life and where Gods and Anti Gods love to share space on page 3 . So it was me versus the city for last one week.
Delhi despite its heat (and dust) is still manageable for me ...but can't say the same for the so called dilli-wallahs . They speak a different language....most of them. We were not even 24 hours old in the city when we faced about half a dozen times repeated inquiries about our next 'career move' , strategy plan for next few years . There were equal number of advices as well...mostly pertaining to what 'goes' and what doesn't in Delhi. Delhi- the power crazy city , makes its own rules and break them too....both times with equal pride. I want to plug my ears against these voices of worldly wise advices . I want to close my eyes from this shameless display of power and egoist behaviour. I cut down my interaction , spend more time with my PG Wodehouse and with my trusted friend Rani ( who still remains very very un-dilliwalah ) . Well, no more talk about things I dislike ...after all, there are equal number of things in this city that I always admire.
It was not my first date with delhi …..I have spent 2 unforgettable years in south Delhi when I was undergoing training . Even in those days , I found Delhi very ruthless yet romantic, frivolous and yet fascinating. Delhi after all is not only a city of dilliwallas but is also housed by djinns of yesteryears. A place of history. A place where legends and fables were enacted for centuries on the reality theatre of time. It is this Delhi of old grandeur that I intend to search in the coming years . I hope to improve my acquaintance with that Old Delhi - which I always find much more interesting than Edwin Lutyens' creation -New Delhi. Old Delhi, in sharp contrast with the modern, glistening towers and the broad, sweeping avenues of New Delhi, remains a dense mixture of colors, textures and sounds that have endured over centuries. It is a crowded mixture of lanes and bylanes, shops and encroachments around the shops ...made lively with the ugly bunches of wires and hoardings of all types and yet very living breathing space ...a slice straight out of history . A place so used to creating history that it no longer cares to be in headlines .
I am sure there are enough places I would like to visit in Delhi . National Gallery of Modern Art - my favorite haunt , will top the list. I hope I will not be deterred by the distances or discouraged by the transportation cost .
I also hope that I will never adjust to the value system this city follows . I pray I always remain stranger to the nasty Delhi decorum and never manage to master it.

1 comment:

Abhiroop Banerjee said...

to love delhi, yet remain untouched by the undesirable influences it tries to effect upon one. thats the trick! My family has been here for a hundred years, yet I'm still not sure how that is achieved :)