Notes from Delhi

Today I came back to Delhi after 17 months. I had to. I think I owe this one to this place. No marriages to attend, no specific purpose per se; and yet I find myself in Delhi, spending a good half of my days off here.

Since I was born here and since I have spent most of my adolescence here in this city, I usually use Delhi’s name as a way out when someone asks me where I belong to. I have stayed more in Bombay than Delhi but yet I do not know for sure if I belong to this city more than any else. After spending my life in 6 cities, what place I really belong to is a question that shall always warrant a definite, and probably a more justified conclusion, something that I would never be able to arrive on.

I am yet to come to terms with air travel. Now, I have traveled by train for most of my life and I still do, but the idea that I was on the seashore till today morning and in the plains of Delhi at lunch still bewilders me.
It bewilders me because the transition is way too fast. A train travels at its own pace and you get to see the landscape changing with your own eyes. You hear the changes in dialect and your mind knows that a change is happening. You get away from the sea and the smell of the muddy swamps leaves you slowly. You start breathing more air in air. The short gushes of wet, cool air that come in intervals of the omnipresent breeze become less frequent. And you get time to soak in, sink in. The journey may take 36 hours but in a way you feel more fresh, more ready when you arrive at your destination.

I had more plans; I was to have my dinner at Amritsar tonight, the northwest frontier of India. If I didn’t have this upset stomach now, I would be in the holy city of Amritsar by night to stay there for a day. But in a way I am glad that it has stalled me here. I have traveled alone all the time and I have never had any problem with that but strangely, this time, Delhi leaves me with a feeling of voidness. I think the concept of traveling alone does not work for me anymore. It is good that I have understood this shortcoming, If one can call it that, now — precisely when it has happened.

2 thoughts on “Notes from Delhi

  1. I think every city has its own dynamics, and with related to them differently. Has Metro helped Delhi? Did you have a look at the killer Bluelines?

  2. @Pradeep: I havent just had a look at Bluelines, I have traveled in them for all the time that I was in Delhi in the late 90s. Contrary to popular belief, the Bluelines have been around for more than a decade now and their record has never been any better. Metro has made Delhi a better place, certainly, but it has a long way to go as the work is still not complete. But one has to give credit to the Delhi govt, the rail system has turned out to be good. Delhi govt came late to it but it arrived anyway. Karanataka Govt should have done it a decade BEFORE Delhi, sometime in the early 90s but they have failed.

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