To Delhi, With Love

By the end of this day I will have left this city for good. Delhi, where I lived for the past two years and some more. I wish  I could define my relationship with this place, express in a few lines what this place has been for me but I can’t. It’s a complicated relationship of some sorts. There have been times when I have hated Delhi to extremes. And then in other times I have had nothing but infinite gratitude to this place for what it’s done to me. Delhi was my ‘shock absorber’ when I first landed here.

My nails were painted red and the first thing I did after I got off from the auto was go looking for a nail polish remover. I just couldn’t stand the sight of the nail paint. In the past few weeks I have painted my nails from green to blue, yellow, orange, grey, brown just any color I got hold of. You wouldn’t get it, after all what’s in a stupid nail paint but it signifies so much for me. When I think of the disgust, yah it was literally ‘disgust’ that I had for that red thing on my nails I realize I am so different now.

Delhi is a ****** place if I come to think of it. But then I realize that it’s not the place it is the people. It is a city with wide roads and narrow-minds. However my sample size to reach such a conclusion is small. I hope I am wrong, or will be proven wrong someday but for now my love is only for the place not people.

Sometime back I was walking from CP to Shivaji Stadium Metro station and thinking what Delhi means to me. To start with once you cross the Hanuman Mandir crowd it is a really nice place to walk. The weather was good too, it even started drizzling then it dawned on me that Delhi’s like a pleasant walk in the drizzle for me. The freedom of walking in the drizzle with no care in the world. Life in Delhi has been a good mixture of freedom, responsibility and pain. It is wonderful to be in a city where your life is your own. There is no one to ask where you are, what you are up to, no questions to answer to, no nothing at all. Just you and your studies. Your own pursuit and priorities in life. I know it sounds selfish but what can I do I can’t fake to be someone else.

When I think of my life in Kathmandu it feels like everyone’s filled with questions regarding my existence everytime they see me like where I stay, what I do or why I don’t do this and that, why I haven’t changed or when will I be different. It’s like an entire world waiting out there waiting for me to cure me of myself! It sounds strange but that is exactly what people make me feel in Kathmandu. Not that anyone in Delhi makes me feel better but no questions is better than too many of them. And even when nothing is said I can sense a big question mark in the room when I am with anyone. It makes Delhi, even it’s unbearable heat something I could stand! Now this has turned into a KTM DEL comparison which wasn’t my intention. I think I got swayed by emotions despite people around me asking me questions like ‘Why are you sad? What are you missing? Sarojininagar market? India Gate? Rastrapati Bhawan? India Gate? ” Yes, more questions. 😀

But may be that’s exactly what I’ll miss. From a person who hated shopping I’ve gone absolutely nuts shopping in Sarojininagar. That simple act of buying things for myself has also taught me so much when I come to think of it. Delhi helped me grow up. I think I need to thank it for making an adult. I think everyone should leave their place of origin and experience living in a place where they can relate to nothing. Though Delhi won’t be that place for Nepalis it still is very different to life in any city in Nepal. My life in Kathmandu was too easy. I didn’t come to Ktm from the village to study or work. Being born and raised in the city meant I didn’t have to struggle like the rest for little things in life. I can’t say that for Delhi too, given the fact that I lived in a some star hotel for the last 8 months and another good hostel before that still there were many struggles. I’ve been to the doctor’s alone with a 103 F fever, been alone without a friend and eaten alone every single day in the college canteen for months, got extremely depressed and then healed by meditation. Only after a year did my fun student life begin when we partied inspite of being in extreme academic pressures, drank all kinds of alchoholic beverages, written term papers and assignments, dissertation going sleepless for days.

Delhi basically taught me to live. For two years it cushioned me from my own reality which perhaps I wasn’t ready for and has helped me emerge a stronger and sensible (hopefully) person. It showed me the worst of people and also the best. It just let me be. And that I think it is the biggest favor anyone could do to me. Just let me be and learn life’s lessons my way. Explore and experience life the hard way. No directions required, no unsolicited advice to be heeded….

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So I’ll miss Delhi, this place. So this one’s for that life in Delhi I led. For good and the bad times which helped me find myself, be myself. The wall clocks that were broken, the drives and walks guided by google maps, morning badminton hours, the noisy peacocks outside my window, the afternoon chai with Bameesha & Poushali, the solitary meals which made me feel that eating was like a boring job, those trees which at a time I’d thought  I would hang myself, to those extremely depressing times, to good times, to Old Monk, Bacardi Breezer, Antiquity Blue and Magic Moments, to those Dominos Pizza coupons in which we never got the discounts mentioned, to the realization that alchohol doesn’t solve problems but neither does milk, to the ‘छोपिफिकेशन’ of Pasta, to excessive Wai Wai consumption till the point it felt like we would have noodles oozing out of our nose and ears, to litres and litres of Amul Taaza milk, to a lawyer and two scientists, to inflation and unemployment, to Veblen and the Institutionalists, to Marx and Friedman, to the endless debate on poverty line, to Poggue and Reddy and C. Jones and Oded J. Stark. To research on migration which drove me crazy and to Devil’s Own in CCD.Chanakyapuri. And thanks to room no 529 for the past few days which seemed like weeks due to the heat. To that beautiful view of the metro running in the horizon and windy nights in the verandah. And finally to the 34.5 km bus rides each day to and fro from Centaur to Chanakyapuri for the last one year. It was a wonderful ride. And like Delhi distance life feels good right now, no place is too far in Delhi. It’s just a few kilometers where one will eventually reach. Life feels that way too. I’ll get to the place where I should, eventually………

Lots of love to Delhi. New Delhi, Old Delhi, South Delhi, Rohini Paschim and to Jangpura, Ber Sarai, Old JNU campus, Centaur Hotel and Akbar Bhawan. It was a life well lived. …will definitely miss you.

From,

One of the millions you gave space to grow.

Other entries on Delhi 

Holi in Delhi

Bhogal an Indian Market

Pakodas in Delhi

Tuqhlaqabad Fort

Barakhambha Road, New Delhi

Other entries from Delhi

I need a cigarette

An Obituary to the Travelling Slippers

Tweet Less, Live More

Ramblings about Delhi Heat

Ice breaker from Dilli

An Indian Cup of Cricket

Dashain 2011

From my beloved confinement

A Jantar Mantar Observation

From inside the Metro

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8 comments

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  2. दिल्ली बसाइको बहुतै मिहिन बिश्लेषण गर्दै केस्रा केस्रा केलाउनुभएछ, पढ्दा मज्जा आयो ! आफ्नो पछिल्लो एक बर्षे दिल्ली बसाइसँग दाँजेर हेरें, केही समानताहरू भेट्टाएँ । हो, दिल्लीले जिउन सिकाउँछ, कुनै पनि पराई शहरले यो अनुभव दिलाउँछ शायद; जीवन-भोगाइको एक नयाँ आयाम पनि हो यो ! अझै एक बर्ष यसै शहरसँग साक्षात्कार गर्नुछ, तीतामिठा बसिबियाँलाहरू सँगाल्दै !

  3. Hey! just came across your blog by chance and found it bit interesting. read this article, now not completely agree with you.

    I can understand about red nail color, if this color indicate something, its not people fault.
    I think its not only about nail color if dressing will match this color then people will start to relate
    with that.

    I am Indian, I have spent more than 8yrs in Delhi and now I am in Kathmandu. If you see both places through my eyes will see lots of, just opposite differences. If you say…

    “It is a city with wide roads and narrow-minds”.

    Then what about this story “Just few days ago I was walking to my home because of
    “Band…” (closed, in one month it happens more than 6-7 times).

    I saw a guy walking with blind stick on middle of road. That was evening of the day and people were using their bikes or cars to communicate but there was not public vehicle. People were passing to him left or right by bikes or cars but no one did stop their vehicles to ask to him “where he has to go, can I drop you somewhere”. Lots of people were walking but they just gave him a look and passed. No one came to help him.

    I ask to him where he has to go… “Lagankhel” …. he said, it was almost 2-3 kilometers from that place and all the busy road through Jawalkhel, it was so difficult to walk for him.

    I had to go to in different direction. So I tried to stop more than 20 bike or cars to lift for him…

    NO ONE… will stop i know… so don’t try… he said to me.

    I offered to him ” so its ok i’ll walk with to till your home.

    I walked with him till his house, then came back almost 4-5km back to my home. You never judge any place with your one experience or through few unsocialized people. I am from that place, what you said…

    “It is a city with wide roads and narrow-minds”…

    This is just one I have 20-30 stories worst then this.

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