Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Capital View – The Best of Delhi

The Delhi walla's pretension in writing makes me want to lodge a bullet in his balls - Blogger Nimpipi, the woodchuck chucks
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What do ex-Delhi wallas miss about the city.

[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]

I love Delhi. Imagine my distress when I met Craig and Tracy, my American friends who have been living in the Capital for two years, and now in the process of relocating to London. Craig said he is ecstatic at the thought of getting rid of Delhi.

He was too frank.

Tracy nudged him softly and Craig changed his tone, changed his expressions and said with a click of tongue that they would miss the friends they made here.

I suspected he was not being frank and so I set about asking other Delhi friends who have gone abroad as to what they miss about this city.

Patrick McNiel (lived in Delhi for 3 years, now in Chicago): I miss saying hello to the barber who set up shop outside my apartment near Mandi House. I miss having clothing altered for $1. I miss the kebabs. I miss driving down the Raj Path toward the Rashtrapati Bhawan.I miss being treated like any other rider of DTC buses and Delhi Metro. I miss the chikoos. I miss shopping in Bengali Market. I miss swimming outside year round. I miss that feeling of accomplishing something big by accomplishing something little. I miss the fact that I actually enjoyed living in Central Delhi rather than South Delhi.

Harsha Khare (A Delhiwalla who now lives in London): I miss the servants.

Sarah Hine (lived in Delhi for 11 months and now back in NYC): I'm somewhat ashamed to admit it but I miss being treated well. I'm ashamed to admit this because I think this royal treatment comes, at least partly, as a result of my white skin. As I fumbled for proper change in Grand Central Station in New York City (seriously, I don't recognize nickels and dimes as quickly as I used to), I sensed the cashier's impatience. I realized that most businesses I patronized in Delhi were extremely patient with me whereas here, I'm just another American.

Daniela Schwarz (lived here for 1 year, now in Germany): I miss the abuses that ring in your ear wherever you go in Delhi, and the opportunity to hurl just about anything back at anyone without them cocking an eyebrow. I'd probably not miss the trail of fans that follows me everywhere, especially the scrubby male ones asking for dates. And above all I'd miss the ingenious ways Delhiites have to block any effort the Delhi Metro makes to teach them how to stand in line.

Padmini Vaidhyanathan (lived for 23 years in Delhi, now studying in New York): I miss having no rights as a pedestrian.

Anonymous (this friend doesn't want to be named; she lives in US): I miss the songs on the radio reflecting my mood even as I don't understand them. I miss the bad art that sells for crores. I miss giving people a kiss on each cheek. I miss all the awful techno and snooty clubs.

Craig (he got frank with me, again): I will miss the monuments and also monuments and then I will miss the monuments some more and yes of course there are monuments and monuments too and beside the monuments I will also miss the monuments and of course, the monuments too.

12 comments:

putra Bertam Malaysia said...

I had visited Delhi twice and I really miss three main India tranports. Auto, Indian Ambassador Taxi and the Indian train. Looking forward for my next visit.

Aman Thind said...

Wow, The Delhi Walla has hit a new low with this post. The so called "Delhites" in this post lived in Delhi for no more than three years (except Padmini) and our Sufi Saab thinks these people know more about Delhi than its 13,782,976 people. Shabash!!!! this blog post is a work of Art, just like the ones that sell for crores as said by Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

I've lived in delhi for 8 years though most of the time, i'd spend 2 or 3 months in delhi each year cuz i attended boarding school in the himalayas.anyway, i currently have been living in canada for alsmost 3 years now and the thing i miss most about delhi is the sounds.strange as it may seem. the sound of a vendor in the morning and the sound of women sweeping the local street across my apartment,the sound of the cycle rickshaw guy leaving after dropping my next door neighbor home, the sound/bustle of the main highway a few blocks from my apartment.omg.i totally miss delhi. you're so lucky to be living there.

Shaheen Sultan Dhanji said...

Mayank, the post is nonsensical! Wish you would concentrate on better efforts -- rather tahn chasing the firangis who lived there for 2/3 years and can come up with such lucid answers. Hope you are not falling into mediocrity...

SSD

... said...

I miss Sassi's chai, being able to get sutta and bun-maska from Ber Sarai at 3:00 a.m., having the cigarette vendors take out your regular 10 Classic Milds as they see you approaching them, the stories auto-walas tell, the way people start talking to you randomly at the bus stop, the way shawl clad people sip tea gathered around a fire on a winter morning... i miss it all and so much more... please do keep posting more pictures, i love them... and the captions too...

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rupesh said...

I am a delhite to the core living in the US now,let me tell u one thing , delhi is any day better than any where else in the world.
I mean where do u get to see friends sitting on the roads and gossiping just like that.Where will u get to see that awesome road side food that delhi has.The charm of old delhi cannot be seen in any city of the world.Delhi just rocks as a place,I wish I cold come back soon and kiss my delhi again.

Anonymous said...

abhi tak ka sabse bakwaas post!!

Abhishek said...

You miss the city!! as simple as that

Kunal said...

Lived in NCR for 21 years before I moved to Sydney (Australia)... the thing I miss the most is feeling alive in all that chaos!!!

Anonymous said...

Lived in Delhi for 18 years (and now in San Francisco)

I miss the Chholey Bhatures of Nathus - that's about it.

Kshitiz said...

You miss the chaos! I lived in South Delhi ( I know some dont feel that its really delhi, but up yours in anycase )... the slang, abuse and taunting the rickshawala, fighting over ticket prices on bluelines... the haryanvi shouts of the conductor - "Nyoda Nyoda Nyoda..."... anda parantha on Moolchand... butter chicken at rajinders... all kinds at dilli haat... regular attendance at Priyas... hanging out with friends... roaming around at the dead of night on what became F1 roads.. chuski at India Gate.. and Dilli ki Sardi... Man...just got lighter by several salty drops of water.