Sunday, November 10, 2013

Dilli wali life

Moving to a new city has it's share of perks and pitfalls.This time around I have decided to brave the heart of the North Indian hinterland, rajdhaani Dilli. Comparisons to other places where I have spent most of my life are ready to spring to the forefront of my mind, especially since I'm moving from Bombay (I refuse to call it Mumbai)which has been part of an eternal megacity (Delhi vs Bombay) debate.

Delhi feels like a big city. The metro is a-mazing. I can't imagine what life would have been like, living in this sprawling metropolis, where distances are so much greater than Bombay, before the metro era. Announcements inside the metro include a plea to refrain from sitting on the floor of the train. My mind goes back to the plea in Bombay, to not travel on the roof of the train, as it may result in an unpleasant and untimely demise of the commuter. What a change.

The women's compartment here is marked by a very distinct sign board of pink with white flowers as a background for a flowy sort of font that says "women only". It's an eyesore. In a city with remarkably well designed signage, clean, crisp and very well maintained; this is just out of place. Wouldn't a woman symbol have sufficed, I wonder? More troublesome is the thought that most women might not feel this twinge of indignation at this kind of visual stereotyping. Or maybe i'm just crazy.
Feminist musings aside, I hope this signage changes soon. Just remove the flowers maybe...and change the font. I can make my peace with pink. 
(Another completely disconnected thought : The women here are remarkably well dressed.Ah the travails of trying to fit in..Sigh.)

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I spent the first weekend here house hunting in Noida. But I was determined to get some time off from the mundane task to get the new city feel. So off to Connaught Place we went. A lunch and some window shopping later, we headed towards Indira Gandhi National centre for the arts. What a place. It has a sprawling campus( I'm not accustomed to this display of space and magnitude after the time spent in the tiny bylanes of Bandra). The North-Eastern art festival was on and folksy soft rock sounds floated towards us as we traversed to the CV Mess, where we wanted to see an exhibit of Indian audio visual archives. The magnitude of material to browse through in the interactive kiosks was staggering. Old recordings, video, photos of celebrated Indian musicians, artists, poets and dancers. In the hour I spent there, even as the realisation of my extremely limited knowledge of Indian art/music/dance/literature slowly dawned upon me, I saw how empty the place was. As we signed out of the exhibit, we saw the number of people who had visited this awesome wealth and repository of culture. It didn't reach 3 figures. 


Momos! Finally a street food that I love, that I craved for in Bombay and is so readily available to me here.Also the aloo ki tikki, which is best had in north india. I could never wrap my head around the ragda chat and golgappas filled with warm matar while I was there.This is the food I know and I grew up on. Ratatouille moment happened. 
The weather is pleasing(for now). I'll keep a bottle of brandy in my closet for the coming months. The Delhi winter is coming. Bring it on.