Sunday, September 27, 2009

Madrid Diary - The Last Word

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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Madrid Diary - The Last Word

Looking at Delhi with new eyes.

[Text and picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

The Finnair flight from Madrid, via Helsinki, landed in Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport on September 27, 2009, at 3.23am. In the arrival lounge, only one of the four pre-paid taxi booths had a man behind the counter. He was sleeping on the floor. Outside, The Delhi Walla had to stand in a long queue to get a cab.

A mile later the cab veered off to the pavement while bypassing a truck on the wrong side. A dust cloud swirled up, entered the car window and coated me with its sandy layer.

(One week in Europe and I had almost forgotten the taste of dust.)

After leaving Mahipalpur, RR Hospital and Basant Lok behind, the cab driver increased the speed in the Ring Road. Motibagh, Bhikaji Cama, Medical passed in quick succession. Thanks to the Madridi hangover, not even the shuttered fancy showrooms of South Ex could prevent it from looking shabby. Soon came the signboard to the great Defence Colony. With the new Europe-returned status, my feelings for it were no longer the same.

When the car drove over the Lajpat Nagar flyover, I looked to the dismal apartments of Amar Colony to the right. It was all black and silent in the early morning hours. This neighbourhood is a bazaar, as well as a residential locale. During the day, it bustles with life. Its showrooms have more mannequins than customers; it has some very popular furniture stores; it has cafes, chhola bhathura eateries and momo stalls. Many students of the nearby Lady Sri Ram College live in rented flats here. The area is also popular with the young working people from the North East India.

A certain easy mood lingers in the alleys. Late night parties go on in rooftops. Romantic chitchats take place in coffee shops. In evenings gay people cruise outside Sapna Cinema. On Friday nights girls in party dresses bargain in broken Hindi with autowallas, haggling over meter charges. And topping it all, a conformist family-oriented Punjabi lifestyle supersedes these underlying sub-cultures. This and more is Amar Colony.

That is the thing with Delhi. On the surface, it is just another poor, crowded, chaotic, smoggy Third World city but poke deeper and you would discover pleasure.

Madrid might be a different world; so is Delhi.

The entire Madrid Diary

Madrid Diary – The Farewell Symphony
The last day in the Spanish Capital

Madrid Diary – The Iberian Sky
Poetry in the heavens

Madrid Diary – The Beautiful People
Portraits from Spain

Madrid Diary – Metro Melodies
Time out in the Alonso Martinez stop

Madrid Diary – Their Monuments, Our Monuments
Time out in San Lorenzo De El Escorial

Madrid Diary - Second Day, Second Show
Time out in the Spanish Capital

Madrid Diary - First Day, First Show
Time out in the Spanish Capital


Rajiv said...

poor, crowded, chaotic, smoggy Third World city ..............hahahahahahahahah

kitna badal gaya insaaaannnnnnnnnnn:D
hota hia,hota hai ,jab paisa aata hai to.......
bhaaad mein jayoooooo sab yeah kehne waleeeeeee:P

Bill said...

"Sapna Cinema"

What a great name for a place where people search for love!

rupesh said...

Mayank, this post of urs could not stop me from leaving a comment .. I actually dont agree with the middle stanza of this post in which u say that even the showrooms look shabby.
Recently,I came back from US having residing there for an year and I have seen all things posh and clean in the US but trust me, the feeling of landing on IGI was awesome .. I just cant describe it.It was surreal.I saw the flats of dwarka at night from above the sky and when I landed , I could not wait to get out of the aircraft and see my family and my delhi.I fell in love with Delhi all over again.My 40 day stay in Delhi went by like 40 hours and I can say that where ever we live, Delhi resides in our heart and we will love it no matter where we live ..
I have been with people from different states in the US .. and trust me the way we delhites brag about being a delhite and the way we love it , nobody else does it..
Just because.. Delhi works wonderfully in its own right.. Love my delhi ..

Ramit said...

The heart is where the home is dude...

Aloorat said...

Brother Mayank,

This has nothing to do with the current article, but somehow I thought I'd share with you that, as I write this, I'm listening to Ms Arundhati Roy plugging her book "Field Notes On Democracy" on Democracy Now!. Sure made my evening!.


Ehsan Ali Jahan said...

Ha Dilli may be a poor, crowded, chaotic, smoggy Third World city, but trust me, it is a city full of life, full of emotion throughout the year. Your Madrid, or New York look beautiful from the outside but delve deeper and they have no substance, they might as well be open air museums. As my grandfather used to say, London is a young woman, pretending to be all pretty and smart, whereas Delhi is like an old mature woman who is content with who she is, she doesn't have to pretend to be pretty and smart, or show her riches because inside she knows she had all of that once, she can now rest on her laurels and let the new generation strut their stuff!

Mayank ab ek bewafa Dilliwalla banna chodo aur Dillijan ki tareef shuru karo, or else you will start to lose your diehard readership! No joke :)

Rosa Isabel PĂ©rez Parapar said...

I am Spanish and I love in Spain.I love your blog; I´m sorry I read about your trip to Madrid too late because I could have recommended things. Next time, maybe.