Thursday, April 18, 2013

but It ain't mine anymore...

I see Delhi like a traveler now. I stare at things and try to experience them all at once. May be my homecoming just doesn't feel like one. I know what you are thinking.. I have claimed more than once on this blog how this city is mine and how I belong here. I am just having a hard time trying to associate myself with this city.

I am back in Delhi after 7 years, which is really not that long. Now that I am here, I feel as if I am in transit and the real destination is somewhere out there. I really don't know what that is. I moved in here in order to settle in the city but now I just feel like a traveler. I am not able to call it my city.

I did some introspection and realized that may be it is the City that makes me feel like a traveler. 
There are things that I can't just fathom.

The whole frenzy about going to Starbucks for an authentic cuppa when Indian Coffee House/ United Coffee House/ Madras Coffee house is right there. 

Everybody trying to fit in somewhere or the other. That pressing need to fit in just puts me off. 
The need to fit in everywhere is constant.. Be it in the clothes 2 sizes smaller or trying to fit in the soho neighborhood. 
I am not anti-Delhi. It is a great city, very cosmopolitan. It is also very accommodating. It keeps growing and growing. It has a place for everyone. You can have the most authentic butter chicken right where it was invented, you can can have a mouthful of gol gappas, you can sit out and enjoy your fruit beer while watching Delhi's culturati shopping, you can wrestle your way in the narrow by lanes to have the most famous kebab, you can also enjoy the fusion in form of chocolate pan or "chili chowmein" by the roadside if you are the adventurous types. If all this does not work for you then standing in the line to get the most original and authentic (apparently) gelato ice cream for 300 rs a scoop would.

If food is not your thing then how about a stroll through history in the Lodhi Gardens? A walk amongst the ruins from the Mughal era, If ruins don't tempt you then Lutyens Delhi probably will?

If its history also doesn't lure you then probably all the glamour and blitz at the malls will. A one look at a parking lot and you will find cute orange colored Nanos tucked between Mercedes and Porsches with elan. People decked up from top to bottom carrying innumerable shopping bags just make you wonder if what you read about the economy was true? Sale / No sale is irrelevant. The queues just don't seem to get shorter.. Parents accompanying children (in their school uniforms) to the malls after school at 3 in the afternoon just makes you question your own growing up. 

Delhi is vibrant, it is lovely and it has varied hues of all types. It gives the same amount of options to the rich as much as it does for the middle class. It has something for everyone. It stands through all our phases. It makes us feel at home well almost. 

You will find Bengalis, Biharis, Kashmiris, Punjabis, Afganis, Assamese, Manipuris who came here searching for something - a better life, a better job, a better place et al. They all became Delhiites with time. When Meanie Greenie (MG) first told me that he was from Delhi my reaction was oh ok but originally from where? 

I feel really funny and stupid.. In all these years I tried every year to come back to Delhi. I gave job interviews, I thought of joining an MBA course, I thought of changing my career profile.... Finally now when I am back here, I feel as if I am just in transit in my long journey. Soon, there will be an announcement and I will have to pick up my luggage and board for my destination. 

And I am lost, and I can't even say why...


  1. I feel the same about Mumbai,so I guess its true- that one can never go back home, not in the sense the place one remembers from their childhood.

  2. For the restless types, it is important to travel. I like to travel. But that one place where I want to come back to, before I start again for another journey is Delhi. It fills me back with energy. If only it were possible practically to live a nomadic life, this 'place' wouldn't matter.But at the end of the day we all need to go to office. Find out your own 'Delhi' if it is not this one. It helps.