Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Travel Notepad – Not so 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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Travel Notepad – Not so Delhi

Six un-Dilli experiences.

[Text by Mayank Austen Soofi; picture by Unknown]

In March, 2009, I traveled to six places and did six things which I had never done in Delhi.

No book browsing in Surat
I was in this pretty Gujarati city for three days and did not browse in any bookshop. I had no choice. There is no Khan Market in Surat. A fellow booklover who spent his childhood there told me that he had left the town as soon as he turned 18 because... there were no bookshops. Perhaps he was exaggerating. There are actually two bookstores in Surat but they are, in the words of a friend, good for nothing.

Boat ride on a river
I was on Narmada, near the town of Bharuch in Gujarat, when I sailed on a ramshackle boat. It was being rowed by a fisherman who was said to be 'half-mad'. I was scared that the fisherman would throw me into the river (I don't know swimming) but instead I had the time of my life. I have never taken a ride on Delhi's Yamuna. Now I must.

Going Veg with whiskey
I was alone in a 2-penny hotel room in Ahemadabad, Gujarat, when I was invited by a kind society hostess to her lavishly furnished row house in a richer part of the city. There I had whiskey with vegetarian food. (In Delhi, I always have whiskey with chicken tikka). When it was time for dinner, I was so drunk that I spilled the potato curry on the table. Ten minutes later, I spilled the custard, too. The hostess forgave me.

In the Other India
While driving around the rural regions of north Gujarat, I left the car on the highway, walked deep into the countryside and saw golden-coloured wheat fields milling with handsome farmers wearing elaborately designed turbans. Their’s must be a hard life but to my city eyes, it all looked soft, simple and idealistic. So unlike Delhi.

First time at Pizza Hut
The Taj Mahal in Agra was photogenic but soulless, not even close to its first draft – Delhi’s Humayun Tomb. But that is not the point. Agra is a city where 21st century small-townism lives in the ruins of 17th century cosmopolitanism. There is nothing to do there except to walk around in dead monuments. When that got boring, I whiled away the hours at Pizza Hut. In Delhi, I had never entered inside one.

Dam maro dam
While walking to the Dargah of Khwaja Gareeb Nawaz, I met two kalandar Sufis in an unlit bylane in the old quarter of Ajmer, Rajasthan. Huddled beside an unknown tomb, they were smoking hash. It was midnight. The Sufis invited me in; I joined them. Ecstasy.


Rima Kaur said...

at the other india
THEIR's must be a hard life...

this shows how good a bit of travelling can be. we are all so stuck in our comfort zones. now i am eagerly waiting for my next trip out of delhi.

Rima Kaur said...

sorry i messed up the title.

in the other india
THEIR's must be a hard life...

Anonymous said...

story sounds better than "Delhi - 6."


Anonymous said...

The Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal at sunset - moving experience
The Taj Mahal in moonlight - moving experience
Walk by the Yamuna bank - During rains
Agra Fort
Itmad - Ud - Daula
Chini Ka Rauza
Sikandra Fort
Radhaswamy Satsang, Dayalbagh
Ram Bagh
Jama Masjid
Anguri Bagh
Fatehpur Sikri
Palaces of Jodha Bai, Mariyam and his Turkish sultana
Panch Mahal
Marble tomb of Salim Chisti
The Buland Darwaza
Jahangir's Hauz Khas
Foundations for the second Taj Mahal - The unbuild Black Taj Mahal
Meena Bazaar
Akbar's Tomb, Sikandra
Swami Bagh Samadhi
Mankameshwar Temple
Guru ka Tal
Mariam's Tomb
Mehtab Bagh
Keetham Lake
Mughal Heritage Walk
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

The "puppet man" and Co
Street Performers
Sweet Petha

Anonymous said...

You smoked hash! I dont like you anymore! Talaq Talaq Talaq!

Anonymous said...

"There is nothing to do there except to walk around in dead monuments."
--- Don't be blinded by the love for Delhi so much that you stop appreciating life at some other part of the country.
It might be a small town now, but you and I both know what it once was, Delhi can't even compare!! History is said to go in circles, if it were to be true, you might very well move to Agra coz I dont think Delhi has anything left to offer anymore.
If you call Agra a city of dead monuments; at leat people acknowledge them to be sacred and leave them alone...
In delhi you find the same monuments being pissed upon!!

Delhi does not represent entire India; welcome to India.. ;P

SD said...

thumbs up for being the adventurer. whoever gave you 'talaq', i am happy to accept your single status! ;) hash and whiskey and books. you are a wonderful soul, mayank!
Regards, SD

Milan Kuchhal said...

zindagi me istemaal ki har cheez ko ek moka zaroor dena chahiye.....{give atleast one chance to every thing meant for use in life}
and you did the same,
your views on TajMahal were denied but they are your own and this is your blog, so you can..........

your Whiskey experience was great.....ha ha ha........


dreamer said...

you leave delhi..delhi doesnt leave you!!