Monday, April 24, 2006

Delhi rocks!

This post was written yesterday, but thanks to Blogspot acting up, I'm posting it today, the 25th. I haven't changed the timestamp though.
I love Delhi, I'm sick and tired of people putting the Indian capital down all the time. It is the easy thing to do. But the capital along with being India's only showcase metropolitan area as well as being India's most historical city plus not having the overgrown small-town feel of so many other places in India and other than parts of East Delhi, it doesn't stink. The anger towards Delhi is driven by a kind of perverse jealousy - people feel angry when they see the nice access roads from the airport, the wide boulevards of South and Cental Delhi, the parks in every colony, homes with front and back lawns, the food and the utter modernity of it all. It also has the country's best educational institutions, and I'm proud of having attended two of them. Anyway, needless to say I will now pillory Outlook even more on this blog - but for the time being I yield to this absolutely magnificent post on Delhi by a Delhi-ite who doesn't forget her rtoots even though she is 8000 miles away. Take it away, Swati.
And there is always Anand's blog here where he kinda captures Delhi in all its glory (or lack of, sometimes). Its sad that a bunch of illiterate journalists and bytemongers do this.
Not that its all good - the part about educational institutions - well, Delhi also is the headquarters of the Ponytail and I as a Delhi-ite sincerely apologise for that.
PS : I really don't know what to make of this blog - the attacks are often a bit too personal - but then again that makes it fun, lots of focus on the Bombay papers and the laziness of Bombay reporters. Tell me what you folks feel.


thalassa_mikra said...

Thank you, thank you! And that was as passionate as a succinct post can get, so yay for us! That cover story is so bizarre that it has made me wonder:

Has Vinod Mehta lost his marbles, or does he not vet stories in his magazine anymore?

vRad said...

For most Bombayites, Delhi is like the wife who has been cheating on you ever since your honeymoon. You buy all her clothes, jewels, shoes, purses, houses, and holidays, and the only thing she does is looks good on your arm when you go out for a party. But even that is a double edged-sword, because then all the hot singles arent interested in you anymore.

Mukul said...

It's a hustling, huckstering, city, adept at squeezing, pummelling, kneading the system for what it can get. Hustlers invade you, from the man who tries to grab your trolley at the airport and steer it towards his overpriced taxi to the leering tout at the ramshackle Tis Hazari courts who wants a bribe of several thousand rupees to get your marriage registered. The disease is infectious: in Mumbai, taxi drivers from UP and Bihar charge by the meter, in Delhi migrant auto drivers from the very same states rig their meters or quote double the metered fare.

For all its aspirations towards cosmopolitanism, Delhi, as architect Gautam Bhatia argued in a recent article, is still more Walled City than World City: houses with high fences, colonies with private gates, and "separate enclaves for journalists, lawyers, old people, Bengalis, Punjabis and perhaps even golfers".

Within the enclaves, there are signs of growing neighbourhood pride, like the community parks maintained by residents' associations. But the lasting image of the Delhi neighbourhood is not the park, but the street, clogged with the signs of the city's growing numbers and, chauffeurs, security guards baking under a summer sun.... Here, fights break out routinely over shared water resources, shared infrastructure, encroached roads and shared parking spaces. "There is an unspoken violence in the air...the possibilities for friction are endless, it's never clear how your neighbour will react to normal social interaction," says writer Mukul Kesavan. "Delhi sometimes feels like a crude boom town—like Topsy, it has 'just growed', but with no settled norms for urban living." Would its citizens help each other, you wonder, if the city was submerged, Mumbai-like, by floods, or run for safety while their neighbours drowned?

May be those who says Delhi Rocks! need to introspect. My parents are from Delhi and I lived in Delhi for the last 3 years. While I agree that people are fine once you befriend them, a City is not judged by those you know there, but those you do not. Delhi has great places to eat and hang out. But that's all it has on the Plus side. Let's not be sentimental and nostalgic about the Delhi, and not praise the CP/Janpath/VasantVihar etc... Delhi is not merely Delhi, it has merged and become one with Noida & Gurgaon. And don't even get me started on the life in the NCR.

All those rapes/mms prove a point. You only need to see young, rich lads cosing up with pretty wannabes in the discs/pubs to see the degeneration/disintegration Delhi's youth is going through. My cousin is 16 years of age, and he's a living horror even by my standards. There is no respect for the poor/powerless/disabled/bihari/anybody. The passage in the Outlook that mentiones of the jeering of wheel-chaired man is completely true. I have seen much worse than that, we in Delhi are used to it.

Delhi has no culture to offer to the millions who live there but aspire more of worldly pleasures than caring about their City. Delhi is like a prostitute to this thriving majority of working professionals, they want to hang out as often as they can,get laid for money or free, go window-shopping, drive rashly, abuse/harass/leer at girls/aunties/chinkis....

The vapid and pervasive consumerism has turned the Delhite into an animal which is the reason Delhi earns a bad name.

Times of India is the perfect mirror of what Delhi and it's young population has been reduced to...go to and check out the Delhi Times.

Those who say Delhi Rocks! are dreaming! Just because you love the City doesnt mean that it is a great City.

(sorry for typos/haphazard comment, time's up for another con call from office!)

thalassa_mikra said...

What exactly is so horrible about young men trying to pick up women in a bar? And the last time I checked, there wasn't anything wrong with getting laid or windowshopping (for chrissakes!).

Is this some sort of socialist blast from the past come to haunt us, about how all consumerism is bad, and lusting for a woman (or man) is as disgusting as sexually harassing her/him.

Mukul said...

Ok, on second reading that comment did look like a socialist rant but the fact remains that when compared to the other cities in vicinity, Delhi doesnt seem to offer any values/culture as I know it.

thalassa_mikra conveniently ignored the rather general problems of absence of empathy/compassion/respect/rage in the Delhites. I am almost certain he/she hasn't spent enough time in the last few years and see Delhi from the eyes of 16-36 age bracket.

I read somewhere somebody commenting how he can't really put it in words but knows that celebrating the culture/spirit of Delhi as a City is a joke. I completely agree with that guy. You can feel it but you cannot really put your finger on something and say, this, this is wrong with us.

Praising the monuments, CP, Delhi Haat and places do not prove much about a City. Hyderabad/Pune/Amritsar/Chandigarh may not be as 'cool' as Delhi but they have a culture you can soak, benefit and tell of. With Delhi, you only see a crowded race for everything.

Getting laid is absolutely fine and so is window shopping and lusting is okay except maybe for jerks from RSS and VHP but look at the demographics, we are talking about young guns who have lost a grip on reality. Consumerism is not bad until you see it turning people into pretentious, superficial creatures.

If you don't think there is a problem with the NCR and it's youth, either you are oblivious or you are not a middle class typical Delhite.

Yes, Delhi is fun, frolicking, it has life, it has colors. Does it has Culture? No. Social Fabric? No. Collective Conscience? No. Spirit? Sorry.

I suspect people who are saying Delhi Rocks are talking out of their memories and not basing their views on the recent past or the current present.

I am not saying that Delhi is despicable and all people are loose, cheap and hyperaggressive assholes, Delhi is thankfully lot better than that, surely. But when you say things like 'Delhi Rocks', it evokes only one response out of me. Yeah Right!

FiNK said...

Delhi DOES Rock. And I'm saying that on what I felt last month in the capital, not on the fact that I grew up there. It's not perfect... it's got it's problems and crowds and madness. but hey.. driving down india gate, the first rain, paan by claridges, the crazy bars where everyone knows everyone, the salaam of the durbans, the heat, the smells, the dust that hits you each time you head back.. i love it, i love it... and hey, we've even got this metro coming up now! It can be totally frustrating but it's got the architecture and cuisine and pot pourri of ppl.. i read that outlook article and it WAS SO biased!!! live in delhi like a dilliwalla, and i just dont see why u'd hate it...

Ritesh said...

I can not agree more with what Mukul has said, it has been 5 years now when i first set my feet here in the national capital. But still can not forget the cultural Jolt i had here.

and yes Mukul, Culture is one thing which is missing and i would like to say that what we need is more of "Tehjeeb" in Delhi