I can’t recall exactly when it had struck me that I had to move to Delhi for a job after having completed my graduation. Of course there was a special reason too, which is why I knew I had to be here. Delhi was indisputably the obvious decision for me; like there was no place else on earth, worth a consideration. My parents were, I wouldn’t say unhappy, but atleast not quite happy about it. Parents are never happy about this place. But they didn’t oppose. Before they could change their minds, I packed my bags and moved a day after my birthday, since I was supposed to join work a day after that. This was almost two years ago. Of the various things that I have liked and hated about architecture, I love it that we can decide to live and work in the city we want to. We don’t get posted or placed. That birthday also, by the way, reminds me that it was the last time I had spent a long vacation in Shillong. Neither work nor time permits that anymore.
Life in Delhi began at my Uncle’s place, in West Delhi, from where I would have to commute to C R Park( that’s where the firm was ) for a week, since my room mate would join me in later. I preferred traveling by auto rickshaws in the beginning, until I realized later that its an expensive affair. ( Remember I was new in the city and couldn’t comprehend bus routes. ) The journeys were long but I loved the rides. When you cross the VIP areas or Chanakyapuri, driving past the embassies or India Gate, that is when you simply start falling in love with this city. You are in the capital and its an undefinable something that makes you feel so connected to your country and the Indian in you gives you goose bumps. I am not trying to get patriotic here but its a fleeting thought that you get when you cross these places. Atleast I do.
A week later I shifted to South Delhi. The accommodation was a one room setup on a terrace, with attached pantry and toilet. Dad found it extremely ridiculous to live in such a place, where you would have to walk in through a passage, which was in no way connected to the building where we lived, cross three households in a line, and then get to the first floor of our building and then finally make our way to the terrace. It was actually ridiculous, but I never wanted to admit it to Dad. We never give them even the slightest chance to prove it right on our face that they are right, even when we know they are. Our parents, being from where they are, with a lawn outside every house, think we could die of suffocation or bronchitis or anything of that sort in these ‘un-windowed’ houses. I don’t blame them. We later shifted to a better place of course; that’s exactly from where I am typing this note. Thanks to the Commonwealth Games, our part of Delhi was blessed with the Metro. I have never understood my fascination for it but I have always loved to travel in it ( or for that fact to even swipe the smart card from underneath my wallet…an honest confession ! ). A lot of people don’t like the metros. Trust me on that. You see these college- going pretty faces and you see trend, and then you suddenly realise that you’re indeed growing older.
For a very long time, I have had a yearning to learn French. Therefore Alliance Francaise de Delhi is where I landed, just as my first winter in Delhi had begun. Though begun with great keen and enthusiasm, the early morning weekend classes started getting to me after a few months and I found it extremely hard to sacrifice sleep on Sundays to make it to the classes. Nevertheless, I did complete two sub-levels. The classes were fun, friends were really good, and teachers, oh they were amazing. On Sundays, after the classes, I would walk back from Lodhi Road to the metro station of Khan Market, purely to enjoy the winter sun. These were the most blissful walks I had ever had in Delhi. All quiet and calm, with amazing roads, walking past the notorious, but awesomely green and serene Lodhi Gardens, I would enjoy every minute of the little journey that I made on foot, under the warm winter morning sun. I have, infact, always loved walking alone….
Whenever Dad calls me up on the weekends, where do you think he finds me : Saket. Maybe my Delhi begins and ends right there, mostly. Yeah its called Select City Walk, where you walk and talk and eat and shop. My craving for this place will never end, atleast till the time I am here. And I hate those Sale seasons! Delhi has turned me into a shopping freak. It scares me, honestly. Its a sin to not mention Janpath, CP and Lajpat Nagar. They can all drive you crazy, till you realise your wallet is empty.
There are two kinds of people: one kind, who hate Delhi, for whatsoever reasons they think are valid; the other, who wouldn’t imagine a life without it. I was never in the first kind, but I am eventually slipping into the other. Trust me, inspite of all the bad, the city has an amazingly extraordinary charm, which is very Delhi. It starts growing into you eventually, till you realise you can’t possibly live anywhere else. Its a personal opinion though…