Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Delhi - An eye opener

Its been called the city of djinns by William Dalrymple, its been written about by countless authors, its been featured in many movies. Its been called a mistress by some, a lover by others and has been endlessly romanticized.

Its also been painted in all the negative colours possible by the media, well the Mumbai based media anyways.
The last time I was there, was 10 years ago, much before Delhi was the land of the metro. This was also my first trip alone to the city alone and to put it mildly i was terrified. I had imagined all the wrong scenarios there were to be imagined. I had painted my kidnapping, and worse. I had made contingency plans for anything that could go wrong.

As I stepped out of the airport, I clutched on tighter to my bag, reluctant to let any porter/ driver take it away from me. I was rewarded with a crick in my back for my trouble. As the car left the airport, I noticed the broad sweeping highways, the almost forest like greenery around, the absence of any heavy traffic. I was unmoved, determined to hold on to my stereotype notion of the city. I steadfastly told myself that these were just areas close to the airport and hence were well built. As I entered the city, I told myself, I was sure to encounter chaos. But the city came but the chaos didn't. The roads remained as wide as before, no apperance of any potholes, less traffic on the roads, and most surprising of all, trees! trees, trees, trees! I mean it didn't seem like I was in a major metro. Even when we came into residential areas, though the roads got narrow the beauty remained. And through the remainder of my stay there, I never went sight seeing. Just by travelling through the city, I was left with images of well organized roads and beautiful wide flyovers and trees trees trees. And haven't even mentioned the metro coz frankly I never travelled by it.

As I left the city I had to grudgingly accept that it was a nice city, one that I must come back to someday. And see what makes Delhi (as a friend of mine said) "the most romantic city he's ever known".

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