Capital times – 1

As the plane descended towards Delhi aiport, I spotted Qutb Minar on the left. Looked so small from up there. Brought back memories of the sixties, when I had climbed upto the first  pavilion of the Qutb. What a view from up there.

Temparature was (announced to be) 37 degrees Celcius. Hot. But the guardian goddess of Delhi was kind in her welcome of this returning native, and clouds soon gathered, and one had a welcome relief of rain even as one was driving out of the airport. Windows down, I had the joy of breathing lung-full of moist Delhi air, and savor the smell of rain on earth.

Mind went to Choley-batoorey…somehow must get to Bengali market to eat genuine choley-baturey…and Tikki…

Delhi is a city of distances now. It is a spread of what is called NCR – or the ‘National Capital Region’ – with muliple metro-clusters, from UP to Haryana, all connected by pretty OK roads and not-so-pretty road-rage traffic. ‘Aggression’ is needed if you have to navigate this sphagetti. Decency doesnt pay. Every true-blue Dilliwaalaa is a human version of the blue-line bus. The blue-line is a fleet of privately owned buses, that has a reputation of bludgeoning its way through the teeming milieu, and claiming an unfair share of human victims in the process.

The average blue-line Dilliwaala doesnt seem to give distance a thought. Every Banwari and his uncle has a car. Quite a confusing choroeography of mass movement with vehicles sporting number plates from all parts of India. And more cars are landing on the road every day. Dont  be surprised if you see a twenty-two year old driving a big sporty Honda Civic car, or an even younger girl zooming past you in a Toyota Corolla. The former,probably, is working for a multinational company that has given him a big car loan at zero percent interest, and the latter is perhaps a college student taking her dad’s car for a spin and a scrape.

Yes, Dilli does seem to be a huge centrifuge that is spinning its populace around in a closed sky of dust and more dust. But thats no problem, as everyone rolls up his windows and  switches on AC. Imports cool air and exports global warmth.

Meanwhile, they bid farewell today to a fair President – Dr Abdul Kalaam. A good man, that the nation would have liked to see continue. But the politicians wouldnt. Yeh Dilli hai…


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