It's old Delhi that intrigues me the most. The seat of the Mughals. The Jama Masjid, standing splendidly tall, in the middle of a vibrant market. The smell of food wafting over passer-bys, delciously enticing, making your mouth water. The crowded 'gullis', the shouted instructions. I'd love to go early in the morning, before all the shops open up and sit on the steps of the Jama Masjid, in complete silence.
Then there's Nizamuddin, so blatantly MUSLIM. There is just SOMETHING about that place that is plain beautiful. Never mind the beggars and the pesky children who won't stop pestering you until you threaten to beat them up, walk through the rows of food being prepared, through winding gallis into a canopied alleyway, where you have hawkers trying to sell you
and and what not. The smell of rose water and agarbatti assaults your nostrils the minute you enter, but you eventually acclimatise. After a point you can't wear your shoes anymore, so you remove them. And step gingerly across the stone pathway. There's a very small entrance to the main dargah. And you pass a mini-dargah before you come to the main one. And the minute you set eyes on it, you stop for a moment. It's beautiful. And Awe-inspiring.
And outside the Dargah, the food. THE FOOD! It's heavenly. Possibly the best Non-vegetarian I've ever had. It's brilliant. Succulent, tender chicken, mutton cooked to perfection. Kababs, korma, biryanis, And all other types of non-vegetarian dishes you can imagine. I don't think I've pitied vegetarians more than when I've walked the lanes of Nizamuddin and been able to taste the smell of mutton or chicken being cooked. Food heaven, my dears, is HERE. (For me at least :P).
Then there's the Dilli of today. Where most of my friends belong. And that delhi is of two types too. The 'Delhi', Select, Gurgaon etc. The one where people wear their Guess and Gucci and Abercrombie and Fitch, and walk into the shops wearing 6 inch stilettoes, and talk in clipped accents. Like this old joke we used to have, the chicks in this category, 'all they want to do is go to LSR (pronounced like ell ess aaaa) and do history honours (pronounced as 'onnos'). South Delhi Butterflies, and don't get me wrong, they're not bad people, heck some of my friends are SDBs, but really, you're Indian. Please, don't try and act American.
And then there are the one who know the back lanes of Sarojini and Lajpat like the back of their hand. Who grew up in CP. Who know DELHI and what the REAL delhi is. And some of the friends in this category are new ones, and some are old ones. They're the ones that'll take a rickshaw, or an auto or use the metro to get where they have to. They'll not wear Gucci and Armani, but they'll wear their Rs. 100 Lajpat or Sarojini or (as of late) Knags steals. They're the ones who'll have chuski by the roadside, eat the chaat and pass comments on passers by. I'd hang out with these people any day.
And then there's the idea of being able to roam the city late at night. Go for late night drives on the highway, sit outside the place where most of the country's decisions are made. Eat nice, desi khana. And generally have fun with generally awesome people.
Maybe what enhances Dilli's appeal for me, is the fact that almost ALL my friends are there. DU. *sigh* sometimes I wish, just WISH I'd gone there. The whole living in a PG with people you've known practically your ENTIRE conscious life.
I want to go there. NOW.
But then we don't always get what we want, is it?
For now, I shall be content with thinking about the city, and missing those inhabitants of its which are oh so dear to me. :)
'Yeh Dilli hai meri jaan,
Bas Ishq, mohabbat pyaar'.
Complete, unadulterated, desi Dilli. So much better than those cosmopolitan cities like Bombay or Bangalore. :P