Showing posts with label Delhi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Delhi. Show all posts

Why Do People Find It So Tough To Be Kind To Others?

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A friend while driving got hit by a car that appeared out of nowhere. When he saw the car slow down he braced himself for a lengthy altercation; a norm in the NCR. People would rather kill or prefer dying than admit it was their fault. Just as he was rolling up his sleeves and taking deep breaths, the fellow got out and apologised profusely for his rash driving. When he offered to pay for damages, my friend couldn’t believe his ears.

A common courtesy in any part for the world but certainly not in Gurgaon.

In a city where everyone’s is always in a rush but no one ever reaches on time, we are forever engaged in mortal combat. We push, step on each other’s feet, honk louder, raise our middle finger and are ready to snap at even the slightest provocation. Rarely do we stop to let someone else pass at a busy intersection. We are like raging bulls, ready to charge at anyone who dares challenge us. When an odd soul does stop to let other raging bulls pass, let the hassled lady take the coveted parking-spot, all he gets is a dead fish look. The husband makes it a point to hold the doors of the elevators for women with kids in our apartment building, yet I’ve seen no one turn around to give him a grateful smile.

It’s as if saying thank you and sorry is a bigger sin than hurling expletives at strangers.

I get it, you’ve had a bad day. Your new boss is a fire breathing dragon and a blood sucking vampire rolled into one. The last time you got a bonus was before the big bang. And your girlfriend who can’t even spell loser just called you a looser. Of course you are &*%#&*)&$ mad! And the only way you can restore order is by making random people around you (usually lower in social hierarchy) as miserable as you are. Who in turn dutifully pass on their angst to yet another hapless soul. Sooner than you can say ‘tere baap kaa…,’ the world around you is like a cauldron of negativity. You hold your aching head in your hand and wonder, why is everyone one around me so nasty?

It’s like being stuck in traffic and complaining about it. Dude, you are the traffic!

Add to it a strange persisting mentality that equates aggressiveness as a show of power and niceness as a sign for ‘come trample all over me and take advantage’. So it comes as no surprise why people are almost afraid of being nice.

WIll Delhi Let The Odd Even Formula Succeed?

Delhi is about to turn into Oddistan – let’s even out the differences, shall we?

Pic courtesy - Hindustan Times

The Delhi government has been spearheading a campaign to turn Delhi into a spiritual haven by sending its denizens closer to God – one smog-full breath at a time. The enviable feat was achieved by the administration doing nothing, absolutely nothing – something that would have taken considerable effort because the National Green Tribunal has been shouting itself hoarse about Delhi’s steadily deteriorating air quality. For many, it must have been an uplifting moment when the WHO revealed that breathing in Delhi was akin to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, without having to pay a single paisa. We’ve heard of friends with benefits. But how many cities can claim to be a city with such smoky benefits!

Smoking kills a few but breathing in Delhi will kill all. Hahahaha.

Not anymore. Or so the Aam Admi government would like us to think after they adopt an odd-even policy for motor vehicles. We hear it has been tried in cities like Beijing and Mexico City, with iffy results. But I guess we are good with iffy. Cars with odd and even numbers will be allowed to run on alternate days. This will take 1 million cars off the road. You and I know that privately owned cars pollute the least because we scurry like alarmed kids every three months to get our pollution checks done. So, trucks, buses and other heavy vehicles, just like our elected representatives, will continue belching smoke and keep up their efforts at turning Delhi into a smoker’s only cubicle, like you see at the airports.

It will be interesting to find out how a city that drops its kids to bus stops barely a km away from home and drives to the neighbourhood market rather than walk, will cope with this trauma. Carpooling will prompt avid WhatsAppers to form groups according to number plates where they’ll be forced to have real conversation rather than simply sharing recycled forwards. Men and women seeking dates and mates will not only have to look for their soulmate but their nameplate-mate as well. Couples can breakup over conflicting number-plates instead of having to rely on the boring ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ excuse.

I can already envision a polarized society with the Even wing accusing the Odd wing of festering an atmosphere of intolerance and returning awards to register their protest.

Anyway, half of us, on a given day, will enthusiastically take to buses and the metro, right? Given our already bursting at seams public transport, what are the odds that people will reach their workplaces in one piece? Imagine having the ‘adjust kar lo beta’ aunty sit on your lap as she knits while the constantly chattering college kids stand on your two feet!

Revered Sir,

I beg to state, I shall not be able to attend office. My patience expired in the Metro and I stabbed four idiots who were standing on my foot from Rajiv Chowk to Badarpur, with a fork. I’ll be spending the rest of my life in Tihar. The food here is free. If you eat it, you will realize why it is free.

Arrestingly yours,


You Don’t Mess With The Metro-wali Aunty.

Image courtesy - Colors Channel

If you Google ‘aunty’, your search results will throw up astounding findings about her sexual appetite for neighbourhood boys on her charpai. The real life aunty is as different from the virtual as mathri is from crostini. She bears no resemblance to the hormone-fuelled fantasy of the Indian male searching furiously for her underarm pics in sleeveless blouses.

In India more so in Delhi, the term aunty is more a state of mind of the one who bequeaths her with this title and less of a relation. She’s the thirty kilos later version of the Behenjee who’ll elbow you out of her way and try her best to throw you into the ‘mind the gap’ as you try to board the Metro.

Being an Aunty is a lot like stupidity – everybody other than you is aware of it. No Aunty even in her wildest dream thinks of herself as one until she gets auntyzoned by Sunny whose backyard she uses to dump the remnants of chholey and chawal that she cooked lovingly for her family. When he dares to protest, she anoints him and his ancestors dating back to the days when they still hung around on trees, with choicest expletives. As he beats a hasty retreat, his face a beetroot red, he spits ‘aunty’ once he’s out of her hearing range. The last time, his best friend, Bunny, dared call her Aunty on her face, he was felled like an emaciated tree by her ‘dhai kilo kaa haath’

If you still don’t have any idea about what I am talking about, I suggest you board the Delhi Metro. You are most likely to spot her in the ladies coach. If you are unfortunate enough to find an empty seat for yourself, you’ll find her hovering over you like a pollen thirsty bee, ordering you to ‘thoda adjust kar lo’ as if it’s her birthright. 'Thoda adjust' simply means, you better seat yourself on one butt-cheek so that I can seat me, my big ass handbag and many shopping bags comfortably. God forbid if you’re seated between two such specimens, your pelvis will get pulverised by their bump and grind routine.

Where Small Homes Have Large Hearts

Google images

They say distance gives you perspective. It’s only when you move away from your parents, do you really start appreciating them. You discover your Mom’s quirks, your Dad’s annoying habits and start looking at everything you took for granted through a different pair of eyes – that of an outsider. Likewise, it was when I spent a summer in the serene suburbs of Chicago, that I realised how chaotic and crazy my life was back in India. Sounds of hawkers selling their wares, kids playing noisily in the neighbourhood, cars honking, ladies gossiping, and Mathur Aunty trying to buy veggies from the 3rd floor of her kothi. These were de rigueur till I encountered the silence of the suburbs. It took me some time to recalibrate myself when I came back to Delhi.

I lived in Delhi almost all my life, discovering the city through its many neighbourhoods we lived in. Each had its distinct charm, confused architecture, a Shambhu bhaiya (the much in demand MTLNL linesman) and a dusty kirana store – the favourite haunt of local kids for lozenges, nimbu soda and potato crisps.

In Delhi, you can calculate the middle class factor of each locality simply by observing its residents. The posher the locality, the rarer the sighting of their inhabitants who are either too busy or bored to be seen outside mixing with the hoi polloi. Hoi polloi are usually the ayahs huddled together at parks while the kids in their care scream like banshees. On their way back they will stop at Super Max grocers to pick up Quinoa for memsahib who’s always on a diet, unlike her middle class counterpart, a queer combination of fed-up and well-fed.

The avenues are wide yet empty. Each house grand and impeccably decorated and maintained by the many servants. Yet its occupants preferring to spend time outside its comforts either earning money or spending it.

The cattle class of Delhi doesn’t let its cramped accommodation deter it from enjoying life to the fullest and loves spreading itself out in the lanes and by-lanes outside their houses. It’s here you get to witness the true spirit of Delhi in its thriving gali culture. As you meander through narrow passages, hopping adroitly over puddles of water and narrowly missing stepping on dog poop, you see elderly ladies sunning themselves on charpais, gossiping while shelling peas with practised ease. Their daughters-in-law keeping the house spic and span by emptying all the rubbish outside. One look at the balcony and the rows of drying clothes vying for space with huge vats of pickles and you know the colours Sharma jee prefers for his undies.

Every hour of the day has its novelty. The loud clanging of the spatula on the iron griddle announces the arrival of the chhole bhature wala. The sing-song tune of Ramu sabziwala is the cue for the ladies to come rushing out in their nightie chunnies and start haggling aggressively. Come evening and it’s time for chaat. The men stare enviously at the gol-gappe wala surrounded by a bevy of women of all shapes and sizes screaming, bhaiya, aur aur aur!

The air outside is a heady mix of whistling pressure cookers, blaring televisions and impatient hormones exchanging furtive glances as they pace up and down their verandas clutching on to their textbook for safety from Mom’s inquisitiveness.

Even though the labyrinth of lanes and by lanes have no names, you can always trust your local taxi to find its way. Why bother naming roads when they can take on the personality of their quirky residents and acquire weird titles. All you need to say is Gol Aunty wali gali (the lady famous for her weight and her fetish for cleaning her courtyard with a hosepipe twice a day) and the driver will be there honking right outside your door.

Bharat Milaap

Isn’t it a strange feeling to be visiting your own city as a tourist? Looking at what used to be familiar and was home to you for decades through the eyes of an outsider? I was away for a year and a half, ensconced in a laid-back and somewhat quiet existence Down Under. And I was afraid I’ll crinkle my nose in disgust at the sight of callously strewn garbage, complain noisily about the congestion and pollution, breathing laboriously through my perfumed kerchief.

A lot of this apprehension stemmed from experiences of desi friends who came back disenchanted from their annual pilgrimage to their homeland, complaining bitterly about the infrastructure dying a slow death from administrative apathy and negligence. Indians who felt like foreigners in their own country, sighing in relief when they finally came back to their adopted home.

It didn’t help that I had described India as this chaotic fairyland with never a dull moment, to my firang acquaintances. My eyes would gleam with excitement when I’d describe my city and its people – memories of its uncouth aggressiveness forgotten and forgiven. I had started craving for things I had never craved for before – the happy buzz before festivals, sights and sounds of a city that never goes to sleep, things that got done by jugaad. Where neighbourhood coffeeshops don't close by 5.

I was afraid that my sepia tinted memories would feel let down by the starkness of reality. After all, nostalgia has the seductive ability to chip away the dirt from the gems of memory.

Oddly, I felt none of the disenchantment that I had been warned of. Back home with my family and friends, I felt invincible. If I complained about the strange sensation in my throat because of the smoky air, I was rebuked loudly by my Mom. Yes, Delhi looked dustier and smoggier than before. The traffic snarls were exasperating. But these were minor inconveniences to the unbridled joy I felt in my heart.

It felt great to be ‘home’, where all you need to do is walk into a ramshackle store in a dingy bylane to extricate the sim card that you miraculously managed to jam inside the slot in a hurry. Your Mom asks if you’re hungry every 20 minutes and insists that you finish the entire lot of gajjaks and rewris because she bought it for you, calories be damned. Stores where attendants seek you out and not the other way round. Roads where motorists communicate with each other through loud honking and choicest of abuses.

An emotionally charged nation, whose people never shy of expressing rage, helplessness, unsolicited opinion – and joy is broadcast through loudspeakers. I would wake up with a start to namaz at 4.30 in the morning, followed by loud hahahahas emanating from the neighbourhood park and finally the gurbani. I sampled chaat from every thelewala at every gol chakkar unmindful of diarrheal threats. I shopped for kurtas in block-print, dupattas in vibrant colours, saris from Kolkata because I was dying to show off our beautiful textiles and weaves to friends in Australia. When my friends hugged me tight and said they missed my laughter, I had trouble holding back my tears.

Surviving a Delhite

Courtesy - Google Images

I share a love-hate relationship with Delhi. A Bengali who has seen the capital since her nappy days, I have been witness to the slow but bumpy transformation of this outpost for displaced Punjabis to a teeming megapolis of millions. Home to some of the biggest markets in Asia, a city where multinational opulence rubs shoulders with decaying Mughal splendour, the stately Shantipath that fills you with awe, wide avenues lined with trees older than your granddad’s memory, the beautiful bungalows – it’s tough not to fall in love with Delhi. What I simply abhor is the attitude its populace never tires of flaunting.

The Delhite is a species devoid of manners, full of self-importance and lacking empathy.

Blame the extreme weather, its fast paced tempo and its law resistant neighbours: there’s that indefinable thing about Delhi that changes you. If you are genteel, soft-spoken, law-abiding – may God help you. The astounding variety of punishments good manners can fetch you in this city is astounding. Your toes will get trampled. If you are in a queue it will magically keep getting longer in the front. If you take the Metro, someone will invariably shove her well fed ass in the sliver of space next to yours and literally push you off the seat. If you are brave enough to drive, you will be honked at incessantly even at traffic lights. If you are stupid enough to walk, someone will either try to run you over or kidnap you for fun.

It’s as if your mere existence is an irritation to many.

In Delhi it’s very important to know who your Dad is. If you are driving within speed limits and it is unacceptable to the fella driving behind, he will come up to you and ask – tere baap ki sadak hai kya(is this your Dad’s road)? If he’s in a better mood, he might ask you the profoundest question of all – Pataa hai main kaun hoon? (Do you know who I am?)

It helps if your Dad is an important government official. It spares you the agony of standing in queues at 15 different counters and when you finally see light at the end of the tunnel (read the clerk), you will be turned back because your bank statements for the last 25 years were not submitted in triplicate. Either sarkari naukri makes you ugly or the sarkar is benevolent towards the looks-challenged, but the fact is, you will find some of the ugliest specimens working for the government. Coupled with an attitude to match, a visit to a government office is like a trip to hell.

Standing in a serpentine queue, with the probability of the smelliest man standing right next to you, the fan on the ceiling moving at a speed which will give a snail a complex, only to come face to face with a gormint clerk, whose main mission in life is to make you realize that life is not a bed of roses.

It certainly helps if your Dad or even an uncle related to you by satellite is a Deputy Secretary in the Department of Animal Husbandry. Chairs appear magically, files move at lightning speed and if you are lucky enough you get tea in china cups that’s only three years old.

Delhi also brings out the Olympian in you. One has to be the faster, higher and stronger to survive. Years of scarcity, rationing and reservations have conditioned us to believe that if we don’t push to get there first, things will run out. Seats, admissions, tickets, space, opportunities or even food laid out at the buffet table makes us starts jostling as if our life depends on it.

Any other vermin encroaching upon our space deserves to be pushed off from the face of Earth.

In movie halls, people refuse to switch off their phones and insist on conducting business negotiations just when the heroine’s mother is about to die. Our gestures reek of impatience and we have long deemed simple sorry and thank-you’s as unnecessary. All we need is a small trigger to burst into a string of profanities.

I’d hate to think that there’s nothing right with a Delhite. In fact a Dilliwala is all about dil - harsh but large hearted, ready to beat all odds with his never-die spirit, enterprising despite government apathy and a stifling bureaucracy – we have learnt to survive on jugaad. We shop in swanky malls in our Calvin Kleins, check out the latest accessories at the DKNY store, yet uninterrupted supply of electricity and water remain a dream for us. We buy mammoth generators to counter load shedding, install heavy duty water pumps to tide over Jal Boards’ ineptitude and bribe our way through sarakari ennui. We Delhites always manage to find a way out of misery.

Everything about us is larger than life – our over the top celebrations, our Swarovski studded handbags, Chunnu ki Mummy’s diamond necklace and his Daddy’s sedan. If Chunni ki Mummy can drive you up the wall with her “kitne ka liya” queries, she will also make sure your kid is taken care of if you are late from office. Mr Sharma may quarrel with you over parking space but will knock at your door on Diwali night with a mammoth mithai dabba in his hand.

Loathe him, love him but you simply can’t dismiss him. After all it’s the spirit of a Delhi-wala that keeps the city alive.

This post is now on... IBNLive

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Delhi meets its Water-loo


Recent findings have revealed that Delhi’s drinking water has something that the rest of the country doesn’t have. As if it’s not enough that the capital is envied for a world class Metro, flyovers that zigzag all over the city, wide roads with a separate set of corridors for buses, sprawling maidans where millionaire yoga instructors practice cross-dressing, bustling markets that terrorists bomb to settle scores with the government, a Rashtrapati Bhawan with a non resident President, a towering Qutub Minar where lovelorn couples engrave their undying love on its ancient, crumbling walls.

Yet it’s Delhites who are turning green and the secret lies in the water they are drinking. Actually it’s also the secret behind Mrs Khurana’s suddenly yummy tadka daal with its pungent odours. So pungent that Ramkali, the neighbourhood bitch died after having it. The secret behind Laloo Srivastava’s toxic fumes that managed to send all the mosquitoes to their next birth cycle. Srivastava Aunty can’t stop bragging about her laadla’s gassy feat. But it’s Malini from Maharani Bagh who is the happiest. She managed to shed 6 kilos in just fifteen days thanks to her diarrheal state. The lucky girl had started her eight glasses a day regimen and has now shrunk to an enviable size four. She can now fit in her 13 year old niece’s skinnies! Yipeeeee.

Delhi’s aqua pura indeed has something the rest of the country doesn’t have - liberally laced with sewage, Delhites can finally claim they are full of shit!

Men and women above 25, lucky enough to have a liver that works have turned this around as a golden opportunity and vowed to drink only “child” beer from Haryana’s highways. But Pinky Pawar and her bunch of gym buddies who flew all the way from Amritsar have been guzzling water like it’s nobody’s business. Two weeks of drinking aqua-toxic from one end and discharging from the other, Sweety was reunited with her long lost waist. Unfortunately Harvinder didn’t take a shine to this all new aqua-discharge diet and is now on a glucose drip.

Delhizens dying to fall ill now have a bevy of sickly choices. Should they opt for water borne diseases or should they conserve and die of dehydration instead?

Meanwhile Delhi Jal Board has been hailing inclusion of sewage as yet another humble attempt towards recycling waste. If we can’t control our waste, we should consume it. Few officials on conditions of anonymity and under the influence of free alcohol were quoted as saying that for water to be contaminated, the city has to get water in the first place! And supporting their theory was our honourable CM, Ms Sheila Dikshit who proudly proclaimed that she uses just half a bucket of water to bathe. It appears Sheila jee washes just one body part a day. Ever since her cabinet heard this good news, they have stopped breathing in Ms Dik-shit’s presence.

So, Delhi has yet another first to its name - a Dirty Chief Minister.

Ironically in this teeming megapolis of 14 million, it’s easier to die than stay alive.Road accidents, road rage, rape, mayhem, mosquitoes, hospital bills, depression, suppression, inflation – Delhites are spolit for choice.And now they have two brand new options – go Ms Dikshit’s way and get killed for raising a stink or drink stinking water and die a shitty death.

This is India shining. Dying of natural causes is a luxury here.

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Winter’s Sonata

It was indeed a proud day for all us when the NCR recorded a minimum of 0.1 °Celsius.  With our chests puffed up in pride, we shivered even more vigorously.  We were even happier to note that the hills were warmer than the plains, courtesy an unusually dry spell.  Someone even dedicated a Rajni joke in honour of this unusually cold spell – Dear Rajnikanth please switch off your A/C.  Regards North Indians.

Rajni Anna, please don’t switch it off until April!  I am delighted that the refrigerator is warmer than my room and my fingers feel like kulfi sticks.  That I have not stood straight for weeks does not bother me at all.  Actually I quite fancy myself as the crouching tiger and am ready to growl at anyone who thinks otherwise.   I happily bound in and out of my building with the tip of nose matching the colour of my boots – a startling red.  And if you hear a hissing sound in the background, please don’t start screaming for help – it’s just me trying to keep warm. 

Long ago I had made up my mind that winter is going to be my favourite season and nothing can deter me from my resolution - not even my teeth which have become exhausted from all the chattering. 

I am given to understand that as a bonafide Bengali, I am expected to dive under a pile of blankets at the mere mention of cold.  A Bengali’s paranoia to anything below 20°C is well chronicled.  Come November and you will spot most of us covered in moth balled shawls ready to face a blizzard.   Strangely our race’s legendary aversion to cold doesn’t deter our adventurous spirit.   Think of a hill station and the first thing your mind will conjure is a Bong Meshomoshai in his monkey cap, with only his pinched face exposed to Maa Nature.  From Kasauli to Kausani, from Shimla to Shilliguri, from Dalhousie to Darjeeling you will you will find our brethren rubbing their hands vigorously and muttering “Kee sheet” (it’s so cold) under their breath!  

As a Delhi-born Bengali I find such behaviour disdainful and will drop dead with shame if I spot a relative taking refuge in a monkey cap.  

Delhi is turning modern jee

Sheila Dixit dreamt of it, our taxes paid for it and DDA in collaboration with MCD almost ruined it.  Delhites caught in the daily grind of generator fumes and traffic snarls shrugged it off as yet another gimmick.  But the megapolis with its many implants and cosmetic surgeries, courtesy fairy godmother CWG almost managed to make it.  If a few strategic implants can make Rakhi Sawant India’s hattest item garl, surely apni Dilli can become a world class city! 

Mumbaikars might try to dismiss it as yet another Behenjee-trying- to- be- modern endeavour but we know it’s a classic case of sour grapes.  Mere pass Ring Road hai, Metro hai, flyovers hai - tumhare pass kya hai Mamu? 

And to further strengthen our case, Delhi will have billionaire drivers vrooming on Budh International Circuit in nearby Noida this weekend.  I am petrified that some Dilliwasi will misconstrue it as broom...broom and reserve a seat at the grandstand for his maid as a Diwali bonus.   If Shiney, according to Spice ads, can buy a mobile for his bai, why can’t the cash-rich Delhizen book a seat for his? 

I am told they call it Formula 1 and no, it’s not another Govinda movie with Shakti Kapoor’s naadha grabbing eyeballs.  Neither does it have any correlation to Maths and Chemistry formulas which have eluded me all my life.  Formula 1 racing is actually a high adrenaline event, where one gets to race long-nosed cars at insane speeds, minus the headache of a traffic cop chasing you with a challaan.  Plus you get to crash cars just like in the movies, get an obscene pay check and carouse with the most glamorous women.

Hey! My husband drives menacingly and scares the living daylights out of people.  And all he manages is pleas for mercy and petrified looks. 

But I am not the type that goes on a fast against the unfairness of it all, especially when there is a plethora of stuff vying for my attention.   Gosh! There’s so much I can choose from.  I can do some head banging to The God of Metal- Metallica- playing in my neighbourhood, or burn a hole in my pocket watching drivers put their lives at risk on a race track.  Giddy with fun, my throat hoarse from all that screaming, I can then proceed to Arjun Rampal’s Lap.   Of course I’d love to spend the rest of my life in Rampal’s lap, but this is LAP the club, host to post-F1 parties.   And Delhi knows how to partyyy especially when drunk.  To facilitate the procedure, the club will have Champagne Sky Bars where firang apsaras will dangle from the ceiling, to top up our Champagne flutes.  Wowie...getting drunk was never this fun!  

It’s Delhi Silly

Courtesy : CNN IBN

Last week Delhites got a sneak-peak into the much awaited Apocalypse.  A bomb blast, an earthquake and then a deluge that submerged the city – Delhi saw it all.  Thankfully I am still alive to bring you an exclusive day by day report.
It was a Wednesday when the seekers of justice were in for a rude shock.  Yet again, the aam admi - he whose life is ‘cheap’, was the reluctant participant of the hate game.  It took only a couple of minutes to snuff out a future that could have been, leaving behind bewildered family members grappling with whys, the rest of their miserable lives.  
And the reaction was predictable. Like an action replay our leaders spouted robotic statements of sympathy, the HM blamed Delhi Police, Opposition leaders blamed the HM, grim and concerned faces making false promises. We have reconciled ourselves to the fact that our Intelligence Agency will continue to fail us and our Politicians will engage in pointless debates rather than action. My point is, if you can’t save us please spare us your hypocrisy. In fact I have a better idea, why don’t you entertain us instead. Do a hurdle race to reach the blast site or hospital and the winner gets to shed copious quantities of crocodile tears.

And please, can you stop saying…I condemn the attacks and we will not surrender to the scourge of terror! Even the terrorist bhaiya is bored of hearing the same old reaction. Why can’t our Netas come up with nattier lines? Even if their imagination fails them, our ministers can always borrow lines from Hindi film dialogues. MMS can ditch his weepy expression, look at the camera menacingly and say Agar Maa ka doodh piya hai to saamne aa….Chiddy can bare his fangs and Kutte!kaminay, main tera khoon pee jaoongaa…Even Arnab Goswami will be left speechless. And when the terror mail is traced to a cyber cafĂ© in J&K Boss! Maal pakda gaya.

Who knows after hearing such heartfelt statements on television the gandi naali kaa keeda of a terrorist will be so plagued with remorse that he will go back to grazing sheep. Alas this is but wishful thinking.

A dirty word called Politics

New Delhi has discovered an ingenious way to cope with its bursting-at-seams population.  It keeps unleashing anew deadly bacteria every few months to tackle this menace. The newest kid on the block is the NDM–I gene. British scientists have recently claimed the presence of the deadly New Delhi Metallo gene in the city’s drinking water supply.  This is no faltu gene, but a superbug that makes bacteria resistant to even the strongest antibiotics.  Once you get infected, your only hope will be almighty’s benevolence, whichever way that takes you.  The Delhi government is not too perturbed though and is tackling this menace the only way it can – by making an official statement “we have not seen it, therefore it does not exist”.  I guess ‘superbug’ conjured images of little green things with their undies worn outside that Ms Dixit was unable to behold through her ageing eyes.  These overzealous Brits, I tell you, they have nothing better to do and are now training their sights on Sheila ki Dilli.  Of course, we know our denizens are used to much worse – live worms, dead worms and sewage in our tap water – what’s a teensy weensy bug claiming to be super!  And if Delhites can’t drink water they can always drink beer!  Ms Dixit will soon be seen on life sized hoardings, holding her beer mug, flashing her dentures and saying Yehi hai right choice baby!  

In politics you become an ostrich with its head buried in the sand, bugged or otherwise.

Delhites may have become inured to politicians and their bakwas but all hell can break loose when godmen, known to pontificate on spirituality, start talking instead about matters political.  And who knows it better than Baba Ramdev when he faced the wrath of one of his followers who sent him hurtling to the exclusive shoe club, one that boasts of such stalwarts as George W Bush and P Chidambaram.
Mitu Singh Rathore, a paramilitary forces soldier, had taken leave to travel to Nagpur to listen to Ramdev’s yoga discourse and got to hear an unnecessary speech on politics instead.  Things came to such a point that Rathore opened his boots and hurled the pair towards the guru.  Baba promptly folded himself in half to avoid impact.  Perhaps this was Rathore’s humble contribution to the Yoga guru’s otherwise shirtless- shoeless wardrobe.  And if Ramdev continues to regale his unwitting disciples with unwanted political discourse, who knows he may end up with a collection larger than Imelda Marcos’s.  

Pranayam and Politics do not mix well.

As a subject, Politics does have a reputation for being the least fascinating of subjects. A British teen yawned so deeply during a class on the topic that her mouth got stuck wide open and she couldn’t close it however hard she tried.  It was later discovered that she had dislocated her jaw. 

Do me a favour, let’s not play Holi

There was a time, not too long ago, when I used to dread Holi.  We were staying in this busy locality, located in the heart of Delhi, where everybody took more than a healthy interest in each other’s lives. Kitnaa kaa liyaa was their catchphrase.  The boys loitered on the streets, trying to extend their hand for friendship to anything that walked by in a skirt.  Yes, they were a friendly lot and I don’t think they ever passed any exam.

And there were kids – lots and lots of them.  They would spend most of their afternoons outside in the gullie so that their Mummy jee could sleep in peace.   Come festival time (especially Diwali) and the kiddos would be seized with festive fervour that would start weeks in advance. You didn’t need reminders, you could trust them to drill it in your head. The bachha party would go phaat...phut...phit all afternoon with their strip of cartridge.  But instead of the damn thing going into the pistol, the kids would burst it one by one, in slow motion, till one got a splitting headache.  My expressions of rage were apt enough to get me the lead role in Anaconda (no, not the Hindi version on UTV)!

If Diwali was a headache then Holi was the time when our neighbourhood would turn into Disneyworld’s Big Splash fun.  The air would be rent with loud screams, with the Tom and Jerry chase enacted live. Come March and I would start dreading the newly-acquired hygiene fetish of the kids.  They were intent on giving me a bath, every time I stepped out of the house.  On my way back from school I was like a Ninja warrior, ducking balloons and water pistons from all possible angles. I am convinced Keanu Reeve copied my moves for his Matrix series! 

Water balloons filled with water and ready for...Image via Wikipedia
In the evening as I would go for my walk, I had to do a complicated hop-scotch-jump, to avoid the steady stream of water balloons. It more than took care of my warm-up.  On the way to the grocer, dry-cleaner, any damn place, my head was perennially craned upwards scanning for those watery missiles.  And the little devils had mastered their skill from Houdini – excited chatter – loud splash and voila the miscreants would disappear into thin air.  There were times I was tempted to give them a loud round of applause.

Chatpati Batein

Delhizen is the typical Punjabi kurhi from the city of Chandigarh.  Fearless, passionate, she speaks her mind and writes from her heart.  A busy career woman who has now shifted her loyalties to Delhi, she lives to eat and in this post lets her taste buds do the talking.....
There are few things Purba and I  have in common; our names start with the letter ‘P’, we are Virgos, we can ‘talk’ and most of you who know her would know what I mean. We also share our love for writing, (though I am not half as good as her) Delhi and of course FOOD!  

Since no celebration is complete without good food and to keep up with the spicy content of A-Musing, my post is dedicated to ‘Street Food of Dillli’.  I read this ode, a 55er actually written by someone who is a foodie by heart & soul and thought it’s the right recipe to start my post which being with food and ends with it too.

“People eat out for various reasons: hunger pangs or for a change,
Some want to try what’s new while for a few it’s about taste,
There are also God’s chosen ones ‘who eat because it makes them happy’,
Food to live or food for mind; I chose the latter which adds zing to my life!”

Google Images
First draft of this post was trashed, so was the second and third. I realized its time to bunk the gym and instead walk down to Sriram Sweets, Malviya Nagar (btw they have the best Gol Gappas or GGs in South Delhi) for some inspiration.

Six gol guppas, 2 deep fried aloo tikkis and a plate of shakarkandi ki chat later I was ready to write about the second love of my life, food!

Just like a wine connoisseur can differentiate between a Sula and a Vintage. A gg Gulper can tell a good guppa from a regular one… Take the whole filled-up to the brim guppa to your mouth, bite into it, did you hear the pucchak sound? A burst of flavors, sweet followed by tangy and then the teekha-pan tingles the throat and you have just sampled a perfect gg, go on don’t stop at one!

On A Foodie's Trail

The husband and I like any self respecting “bong” have a discerning palate and take the art of gastronomy rather seriously. Weekends are dedicated mostly to the onerous task of deciding where to eat what. We love trying out new eateries and have opinions galore on who serves the best crab in town, which restaurant has the best Teppanyaki , who does the best “Goshtaba” Eating out guides are meant for the un informed, after all who knows better than the Rays!!

Dare an unsuspecting maĂ®tre d suggest salmon to the husband, we know exactly what the unsuspecting fellow has in store for him. The poor fellow is asked to furnish the credentials of the long dead fish. And before he can mumble an unconvincing reply he will be dismissed with a “I’ve had the best, don’t try to pass of the farmed variety as the real thing” We have a rare expertise in giving “honest” feedbacks at the end of a meal. So honest that we often have the manager scurrying up to us with a worried frown on his face. And yes, I have been woken up from my afternoon siesta only to explain patiently on the phone why we thought that the enchiladas were not up to the mark.

Travelling is another passion of ours (in fact I could write a whole blog on our varied passions). Trying out local cuisines more often than not takes top priority in our itinerary. After all we need fodder for feedbacks.

While planning a trip to Bangkok nearly a decade back, we were quite enthused about sampling authentic Thai cuisine. On landing in Bangkok we set off on a trail to sample the famed Thai curries. We came across Sushi , bubbling cauldrons of soup in which you could dunk ingredients of your choice and even more sushi, but mysteriously Thai cuisine was missing from most of the menus. Of course there was the famed street food of Bangkok that we could have sampled for that authentic taste. But suspicious looking creatures floating in oil or propped on sticks was not exactly our idea of culinary heaven. We eventually did have a few memorable Thai meals. The curries were sweet, subtle and bursting with flavors. The ingredients including the vegetables were the freshest, a far cry from what gets passed off as Thai cuisine in the many restaurants dotting Delhi. And now we have a hearty contempt for the red/yellow/green curry variety and can turn up our nose in the air and proclaim “This is not authentic!!!” After all we can now claim to know our “Nam Pla” from “Nam Phrik”

Growing Up With Delhi

Even though I am a true blue Bong, I hardly had any relatives in Kolkata, till I got married. My Dad is from Lucknow, Maa from Kanpur and I was born and brought up in Delhi.

For someone who has spent a little over four decades in the city, I have seen Delhi metamorphose from a laid-back Punjabi by nature city to a bustling, chaotic Punjabi at heart metropolis. Oh, what a transformation it has been- whether for better or for worse, is matter for another long debate.

As a child, recreation would mean boating in boat club, followed by ice cream at India Gate and watching performances at the city’s many cultural spots. And we watched movies in large, single screen cinema halls. Chanakya was meant for English movie buffs. I remember the time, when my parents had gone to watch The Exorcist at Priya. Their ride back home, well past midnight, on that lonely stretch in Vasant Vihar, was way more scary than the movie. And now Vasant Vihar is a constant cacophony of blaring horns and frayed tempers.

Karol Bagh was THE place to shop and South Delhi had yet to acquire its glamorous avatar. I had my first taste of butter chicken, Delhi’s national bird at a restaurant in Daryaganj. I hated it – found it too sour for my taste. Delhi was all about Mughlai and Punjabi Khana and if you wanted to try something exotic, it was the posh 5 star hotels you headed to. Does anyone remember Akbar hotel, one of Delhi’s earliest five star establishments? it shut shop long time ago. All I can recollect is the colourful chains of bangles that would hang from its ceiling. I would watch in fascination at the light dancing off those colourful pieces with my head craned up, my fingers dug deep inside the sofa. Eating was not a priority then.


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