By Tanvi Girotra

CSC_1538-1-199x300 Dilli Dilliwaalon kiI recently came across someone’s status on Facebook – ‘Delhi winters are almost as overrated as its people.’

Not getting into what severe climatic conditions this person had come from to have not felt the mind numbing chill of an early winter morning auto ride from GK to Vasant Kunj, the second part of her status left me intrigued. Are Dilliwalas everything that they are thought out to be? A long conversation turned argument with a friend from Bombay left me even more perplexed. Are we as snobbish as people think we are? Apart from roadside chaatwalas, do we only but pretend to know good food? Does a walk on Marine drive win over a stroll through the bustling streets of Chandni Chowk? Are stories of the age old Hindu-Stephens rivalry the only thing that DU campus life has to offer? Is our nightlife as ‘crazzzayyyy’ as we make it out to be? Are we really overrated like my friend {not} claims we are?

And most importantly – If those things are even mildly true, what is it about Delhi that makes me want to tell the status writer to go back to her snow clad mountain?

I think its the smells. Of freshly made chole bhature in a shop outside Kamla Nagar. Of lots and lots of fish hanging on stalls inside Chittaranjan Park. Of the chicken tikka rolls served at Khan Chachas. Of the dosa and coconut chutney breakfast your South Indian neighbour surprises you with. Of a scrumptious plate of butter chicken in well, almost any restaurant at any time of the day. Of the assorted platter of offerings on a Thursday evening at the Sai Baba temple and not to forget, the wet mud of Lodhi gardens as if welcoming the approaching monsoon rains.

I think it’s the feeling. Of sheer joy when you jump a traffic signal scot free but the ‘thulla’ catches the next guy who does it right after you. The feeling of exuberance when you find the DND empty around the eerie hours of the morning. The delight of watching the sun wake up the entire city overlooking the minarets of the red fort and then melting into nothingness behind the Qutub Minar informing all Gurgaon residents stuck in traffic that its a long long way home. Of a lady policemen shooing away all men who dare enter the metro women’s compartment. Of the deadly summer loo slowly turning into a chilly winter breeze. The sheer feeling of happiness at buying the orignal Kuch kuch hota hai poster from an underground shop in Haus Khas village. Of dancing in a complete stranger’s baraat yet never getting caught.

I think its the sounds. Of millions of bangles being sold outside Hanuman Mandir. Of loud Bengali chatter inside a Durga Pujo pandaal. Of squabbling street vendors in Chawri bazaar. Of the Rajdhani express finally approaching. Of women bargaining at Sarojni Nagar market like no body’s business. Of the Gurbani at Bangla Sahib sometimes immediately followed by evening namaaz coming out of the beautiful corridors of Jama Masjid.

I think its because its the only city I can call my own. Its the only place I know {almost} like the back of my hand. Its the only kind of people that I can sometimes hate yet completely relate to. It’s the only place I can run to when I need to escape and fall back on when I need a place to call home.

Dilli dil walon ki. Dilli, dilliwalon ki. Snobbish? Possibly. Arrogant? For good reason. Cold? Most definitely. Pretentious? Maybe a little. Overrated? Never.


Photo courtesy: Sahej Bhatia 


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