Monday, June 22, 2009

Maximum City – Do You Like Delhi?

The Delhi walla's pretension in writing makes me want to lodge a bullet in his balls - Blogger Nimpipi, the woodchuck chucks
Contact for ad enquiries.


The Capital is everyone’s favorite punching bag.

[Picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Do you like Delhi? This is the question The Delhi Walla put to a few people. This is what they said:

“I detest Delhi”
This town is a collection of tombs. You stand at the top of Humayun’s Tomb and all you would see are Muslim rubbles made from the demolition of Hindu temples. Being from the south where we have temples older than 400 years, it is disturbing to not to come across any pre-18th century Hindu monument. But why talk of monuments, I’ve yet to see a jhopri in the Capital. It seems all the poor people have been thrown out. Where are they living? This forced dumping is unimaginable in Bombay from where I come from. And Delhi’s people? You know this is a city of refugees and everyone behaves like one. Everyone acts just as a hungry crowd would behave if you throw biscuit crumbs on them. Honestly, I’m sick of this place. It’s like a cul-de-sac. If all Delhi had one neck, I would have happily squeezed it. According to Mahabharat, this is the last Delhi. That’s a relief.
Ashok Rao Kavi, gay activist, living in Delhi since 2006

“No discipline”
Delhi resists orderliness, unless it is enforced with a big stick. This a city which was sadly at its most compliant with rules and law during Indira Gandhi's Emergency.
Siddhartha Basu, TV producer

“Wouldn’t change it for the world”
Yes, you’ve seen other great cities. But here you have family and friends. Here you’ve lived all your life. Here you don’t have to ask for directions. You are part of the scene. You know people and people know you. Some say Delhi may be heading towards being an impersonal city but in our days, it was said to be an overgrown village. Everyone knew everybody. That’s the way it should be.
KD Singh, bookseller, The Book Shop, Jor Bagh

“Not a real city”
Delhi is not a city. It is a vast village, rural in its aspect and attitudes. And it can never ever become a real city. Real cities live out their lives on the street, where markets and private residences are not flung far apart, where there are public spaces for all to enjoy safely, where there are pavements for a cooling evening stroll. Delhi, instead, is private and centred around its drawing rooms. Civic infrastructure, while perhaps the best in the country, is still a joke by international standards. The rule of law is a cruel fiction. As for its citizens, the less said the better. After all, here is a place that brings out the worst in all of us.
Amit Dixit, travel writer

“Everybody cheats”
I live near Humayun’s Tomb and there you see tourists coming and going in great numbers. But instead of clicking the photographs of the monument, they click the picture of the squalor around. They take pictures of beggars, lepers and drunkards. I agree that our authorities do much for the upkeep of monuments but they hardly do anything to spruce up the surroundings. For instance, the railings at Humayun’s Tomb are covered with the clothes of beggars. And what to say about Delhiites? Everyday you hear of girls being raped. Everybody cheats. We as a people must change. This is a very sad situation.
Anjolie Ela Menon, painter

“It’s Kafkaesque”
Delhi is a historical city without memory of its history, or much to show for it. All that are left are PWD invaded, ASI stigmatized sores. History has evaporated under heat, dust, and the rampaging horde of chole bhature, poverty, and paisa. The refugee has killed its refuge. It isn't a commercial city, or even a political city. Once it was a babu city. Now, it’s just a woven silk tapestry of a vision of Kafka. It is a city about nothing. But what are cities about either way? Some have charm, some commerce, some culture, and others history; some all. Singapore and Taipei have come to symbolize the inert utilitarian ideal. Cities like Paris epitomize culture, and history. Third world however has perfected a city about nothing. We are a city without culture, and our culture exists without a city. Since history, cities have been places where culture was perfected, thought about, perfected, written, memorialized. Today cities are unmoored lampposts of venal globalization, greed, and vivid tableaus of the toll that such acts take on a country and the soul.
Gaurav Sood, blogger


Anonymous said...

Glad you came up with this post...I've been thinking..Who is a true Delhiite??

Been living in Delhi for the last 3years and have enjoyed every bit of it.When I came here it was a humongous place to see and discover but it is only becoming smaller with time.Before I left my hometown of more than a million people in it,my friends and family were not very optimistic about my move here with the most rudest people in and where the heat was a bitch and cold was something else.And I'd say "if you can survive in a place like Delhi then you can survive in any part of the world" and right I was.

I couldn't have been more right.Delhi has so much of history,landmark,art&culture and what not happening almost every second.It is the perfect spot for National Integration with people from across the country living here making it a city of mixed cultures which I so love and appreciate.Did I have that in my city,no I didn't... so I see no reason to be yapping about not liking Delhi.Love delhi (heat and all)

And lets not fool ourselves thinking that none of the shit doesn't happen in any other cities be it large or small.I guess be it in Delhi or anywhere else you just have to talk the talk.After living in a place for certain amount of time you "get it"

Delhi is one the largest cities in the world and has her arms open for anyone to come and be a part of her.And I love delhi for what it has offered me and I'm not giving her a bad name just because of some random bad experiences which could so easily have happend to me in my hometown.

A writer has a column Dilli to Pagal Hai and I like pagal dilli.

So Mayank am I a DilliWalla too???


Kaushik Chatterji said...

There is a lot that I don't like about this city, but compared to some others, the number of such things are very low. The saddest part, though, is that one of the oldest cities of the world is not appreciated for what it is by the people who stay there, and they are the ones who are making it resemble any other big city, not only of this country but of this world. Unbridled modernization can never be good.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous and Kaushik have better views then the experts in the main story

I was born and raised in Delhi and I am biased but the strength and weakness of Delhi is that i belongs to everyone and in the same sense do not belong to anyone

swati said...

Like all else, Delhi too has its set of Cons.Bombay has that space issue and bangalore has the crazy traffic. And really what's the point of judging it wrt any place else.

I am going with Pagal Dilli too.

P.S. - Mr.Ashok Kavi, the gay rights activist, i believe should move (to his bombay.maybe) doubt he's giving the city a headache just as She is giving him one :)

Rajiv said...

kaun jaye dilli ki galliyaan chod ker,a GHALIB........

east or west ,DELHI is best yaar
yahaan ki garmi ,sardi ,barsaat ,beggars,monuments,hotels,eatries,...........Khushwant singh ji nd ab yeah MAYANK sahaab :)

jeena yahaan ,marna yahaan
is ke siva jaana kahaan...........

Anonymous said...

Only Delhi has bloggers like Delhiwalla or the relatively new

There are so many layers to Delhi,I don't think there is another Indian city (or many cities in the world) which have so many centuries enfolded in into their fabric, and still surviving.

Anonymous said...

Delhi is a city of-

Fig trees and
Freakin mice!


sneha srivastava said...

i like monuments and history of delhi....
i like that no one notices and no body cares abt other...
no one interferes
and no one is really frnd...
it is a place that makes u independent... and very practical...wanna grow up....come to delhi...

Rajiv said...

Delhi was once a paradise,
where love held sway and reigned
But it charm lies ravished now
And only ruins remain.

No tears were shed when shroudless they
Were laid in common graves
No prayers were read for the noble dead,
Unmarked remain their graves.

The heart distressed,the wounded flesh,
The mind ablaze,the rising sigh
The drop of blood,the broken heart,
Tears on the lashes of the eye.

But things cannot remain,O ZAFAR,
Thus for who can tell?
Through GODs great mercy and the Prophet
All may yet be well.

William Dalrymple