Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Delhi - A Page From My Diary

In a state of disrupted, chaotic order I am still living out of a suitcase. As I travel from the western part of city to my office in the shiny new metro for a couple of days, I thought of writing this ode for a bustling, throbbing, eclectic city I love.

From a height I observe the city, abrupt lines and jagged edges flouting the
symmetry associated with a city seen from the top - rooftops of congested micro
cities, homes and offices, slums and villages - decaying, putrefying structures
and people in lifeless motion, almost cataleptic. And then suddenly, the vision
gets broken by shiny new malls and movie halls in unexpected places. The pattern
repeats for a while as the train jerks to a stop at each station, a mass of
people moving in and out. The uneven rooftops give way to green foliage, a
labyrinth of flyovers, roads, traffic signals and car crawling to their

And in that closed box, I notice furtive glances
until there is nothing left to look at as eyes move from random images –
advertisements, maps, the LED board displaying station names, people, coming
back to staring vacantly in space.

I hear voices murmuring,
inaudible collective sounds at first and then singling out. There are strains -
of languages Punjabi, Bhojpuri, Hindi and English, old Hindi film songs, stock
prices, exam results, sweet nothings.

Dampness hangs in the air, fragrance of flowery perfumes mixing with the sweat, a potent mixture pervades as empty spaces fill with people until there is nothing left to fill, nothing left to pervade.


Updated: I love the song 'Dilli Bas' sung by Rabbi Shergill and dedicated to my city Delhi. Check out the lyrics here. I don't know where can I listen to it online :


taureandude_23 said...

hey NG
a very interesting perspective you have put down in words. liked the slightly hatke description. there may be congestion, crowds, and bustling streets, but i dunno i seem to always notice that theres a method to all that madness. Be it Dilli, Mumbai or Kolkata. theres a sea of humanity everywhere but it isnt haywire, there are so many people rubbing shoulders with so many others, yet they have accepted it as a part of their lives and learnt to live with it. a fact that can only be true of Indian cities, i guess.
the different languages are a definite giveaway that one is in the North of India, why north? as most of the languages are North Indian. If you add Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu one is in Mumbai:D

loved the parting line " empty spaces fill with people, until there is nothing left to fill, nothing left to pervade." unless you catch the next train:d

take care

n.aka.zephyr said...


Thanks! I also think there is a method in madness… Time and again I am reminded that I am a big city girl… I love the mad crazy energy which bounces off these cities.. it took me a while to figure it out… but now I know :)

Esp when I spent about 60 days in smaller cities, villages and towns… it made me quite restless… I was missing Delhi… when I was in Mumbai and Hyd… I was quite okay :)

The next train is equally deadly :P I actually missed two at 9 a.m coz there was no space to get in.. then I mentally chided myself… sheher ki ladki hokar train mai nahi ghus payee… I revived all my killer instructs and after that I was okay :D :D

u tc as well!

Gussa Waala said...

Hey Zeph,

Its been a while since I have been on O3 and each time I return I wonder why lol.

I was in Delhi this past Decemeber and I must say it is the first time in my life that I no longer know the city. Why? Simply because its changed too much. Not a bad thing, don't get me wrong. But eventually a place that you leave will become a place that you no longer recognize. Its just a fact of life.

But, hey I still know my way around and I still enjoy my visits. :-)

Maybe I should start blogging on blogger instead of O3.

n.aka.zephyr said...

Hey GW,

Aisa hota hai… I left O3 when it started to operate in a state of limbo… :)

The city is changing really fast.. by 2010 you’ll see a lot more construction…

You said this so well - “But eventually a place that you leave will become a place that you no longer recognize.” I am leaving Delhi soon and I am afraid I won’t feel at home when I come back. This also applies to O3 as well… which doesn’t feel like home anymore! :D

moai said...

kahin koi urh raha hai
gir raha hai
hai kharha qagaar pe
khele jua
baney gulam
hai parha intezar mein

freaks me out, life is just...

In my country, at the end of WWII, a small group of early resistants (P. Dac,...) invented "Le parti d'en rire", "le parti de ceux qui n'ont pas pris de parti".
But the Rabbi's song remains closer to John Lenon's "Imagine".

Salutation, take care, best wishes and thanks

Curious said...

Wow.. that's some beautiful writing zephy...

n.aka.zephyr said...

Hey Moai,

I am impressed you understood the lyrics :)

Imagine is one of my fav songs…
Anyway I am becoming your neighbour for an year… I am moving to UK this august!!

Take care!!

n.aka.zephyr said...

Hey Curious,

chandni said...

I love that song "dilli bas"...

it does justice to college life :)