small town girl, and proud of it. Years back, I came to Delhi to study,
fell in love with the city, fell out of love with the chaos, fell back
in and made it my own. Delhi has its own distinct character, a unique
vibe, and its very own background music if you listen closely. It’s so
many things all at once – it is majestic, it is disgusting. It is rich,
it is poor. It is progressive and shiny, it is also unsafe and
overbearing. With all its flaws and perfections, with the entire happy
buzz and all the bad reputation, and with all the heart breaks and all
the possibilities – Delhi is like a boyfriend you can’t seem to get
enough of or break up with. Delhi and me, we are the perfect definition
of Relationship Status: It’s Complicated.
love-hate relationship with Delhi is now a part of me. I know that my
small town background helped me appreciate it more, and made me work
hard and try harder to make it work between Delhi and me. No matter how
political it gets, or how unsafe or downright cruel the city seems at
times – Delhi to me is a Can’t-Do-Without entity and I know I will miss
it every time I go away. And here are the top five things I miss the
most about Delhi every time I go away:
There is a certain amount of independence that comes to me with Delhi.
Don’t get me wrong, I have always been a confident person – at times
even foolishly so. But with Delhi, it’s different. Maybe it has to do
with the fact that when I first came here from Kota – I experienced true
independence for the first time. And I am not talking about the go-wild-and-party-hard
part, no! I’m talking about the responsibility part. For the first time
in my life, Delhi gave me a feeling of being responsible for myself. It
wasn’t my safe and quiet home town where every third person knew my
family somehow. I couldn’t count on dad to come pick me up every time I
got half an hour late and it got dark outside. I was a kid, and Delhi
was what started the process of my growing up in terms of feeling
answerable to myself. Independence is not just about being a rebel,
staying out late, partying with friends and not making your bed for 4
days – it is knowing that you are responsible for yourself. And Delhi
gave that to me.
Back in my home town, all we had in the name of public transportation
back then was – Autos. When I came to Delhi, I was bowled over by the
phenomenon that is DTC. I was in awe of it, a little scared too and a
lot disgusted because I never really got it. The few times I tried DTC,
were complete disasters. But only because of my own fault. I would get
on the wrong bus, or would get down two stops early and once I almost
fell off a moving bus. But then I was introduced to the amazing cab service in New Delhi,
and I was hooked! Kota, my home town, didn’t have a cab service, not
that I knew of! It all sounded so fancy. And no, I obviously didn’t have
too much money to afford it, but a few friends and I came up with the
idea of Taxi-Pool and it worked well for us. I was amazed at how prompt
and efficient the taxi service in Delhi
was. Saved time, was comfortable and hey, it was the pre-Uber era so it
even felt safe, especially because not less than five of us hostel
girls would pile inside one cab for our Taxi-Pool, half of whom were
always chattering away on their phones to their boyfriends or their
parents. Cab services were such a blessing! And then came The Delhi
Metro with all its glitz and glamour and after my first ride in it, I
knew nothing will ever feel better than this, public transport wise.
- Night Life.
Okay, so Kota had zero night life. And also, Kota had my entire family
and late night parties meant hanging out with cousins, eating chicken
cooked by mom or some relative and going to bed by 10. It was super fun
and I looked forward to it! But once in Delhi, I experienced the real
night life they showed in the movies. I was in a hostel so we didn’t
really go out much late, but hey, Delhi had Jam Sessions in clubs at 12
noon where you danced and ate and it felt like the middle of the night!
When I moved out of the hostel and started working, I fell in love with
clubs that offered me huge Media Discounts. A bunch of us would then
head to some famous late-night parantha wala and gossip the night away with hot tea and paranthas.
Good music, glossy crowd, fancy food, dancing and gossip with friends –
What’s not to love? I know that Mumbai has a ten times better night
life, but Delhi was my first time, my first love.
- Street Food.
Do I even have to explain this? The Delhi street food scene is probably
the best in the country. I remember one Sunday we hostel Taxi-Pool
girls were cribbing about the mess food and suddenly we decided to head
to our favorite joint in Lajpat Nagar and eat Tandoori Momos. We called
a cab service in south Delhi
and within 55 minutes, we were ordering 6 plates of delight that is
known to mankind as Tandoori Chicken Momos. Bliss! We also washed down choley chaat and golgappas with Nimbu-Lemon
a while later, making it a perfect day. My husband is also a big fan of
Delhi Street Food so we hit the streets as often as we can and oh, I
suddenly have a strong craving for Rajinder’s Kebabs now. Damn.
Isn’t this the best thing about Delhi? Or about any new place for that
matter? Unlimited possibilities. And I say this not only from the view
point of a small town girl, but also in a broad
there-is-so-much-to-accomplish-and-so-much-to-experience way. In Kota,
career options were simple – Doctor, Engineer, or Teacher. Kota is known
for it’s over performing IIT-JEE / CPMT coaching institutes, with kids
from all over the country coming and preparing for their good future.
And for us – the kids from Kota, it becomes almost mandatory to follow
the “trend’. When you go out, you gain exposure to so many possibilities
that enable you to make an informed choice. And knowing all your
options is what puts you in the right position to make a choice you feel
good about, isn’t it?
And yes, I
have a lot of things I don’t like about Delhi too – women safety being
on top of the list, but that’s dope for a different post, at a different
time. Right now, as I type this, I miss Delhi – the clean an green
roads from Ashram to Chanakya Puri, the exciting buzz of Khan Market,
the adorable chaos of Old Delhi, the good times of Dilli Haat, the
finger licking food from Rajinder Da Dhabha and oh, Pandara Road, the
joy of finding a good bargain in Sarojini Nagar, the sheer fun of
walking around CP, and the thrill of driving past India Gate.
Oh Delhi, you beautiful chaos, today there is so much that I miss about you!