Back to Dilli after several months, and went out to the local DDA Park for a late morning walk. 7 am is kinda late… But Sunday and all that, so ok shokay.
There was a nip in the air. A question mark in the mind, ki, should one have dressed differently. Especially after spotting a folk or two wearing scarf and all that. But then seeing a man in shorts roaring past in a mobyke, I’m ok you’re ok.
And now for my periodic dipstick test of the state of the nation…
Enter the park. Enter the dragon.
Everybody loves Kungfu fighting…. What a joy. How much energy a bunch of punjoos pack. By Punjoos, I mean all folks north of vindhyas, like madraasees were all folks south of it… Now who can tell. Sab cheej mein milaavat… Well, real punjoos are always the crème-de-la-crème of the overall set, and so jai ho.
The morning folks are presenting a pretty picture.
A lone man standing like a weather cock… He stands on his left leg, the other leg lifted, bent backwards, held at ankles by his right hand, pressed hard against his butt, his left hand raised, pointing directly east, perpendicular to his body, his long nose pointing like an accusing finger, his eyes challenging the Sun.
A group of RSS folks in one corner. The older ones still loyal to their baggy khakhi half-pants. The younger ones in camouflage, in regular pants. They stand in a huddle of sorts, peer into their hands, and chant prayers – karAgre vasate lakShmI, kara-madhye saraswatI ….I can imagine leading TV anchors scowling from high, and ‘The Hindu’ writing a stinging editorial about it.
But, yes… I notice a parivartan… Folks are not honking and overtaking each other. There is a quiet air of relaxed-alertness that one may see among space travelers who are between planets. Girls are walking quietly, or jogging alone, focused on exercise, not fiddling with cell phones… Young boys are sitting on park benches peering into cell phones, searching for some lost dream. An elderly man, comfortably past eighty – kgs of weight – sitting on a bench, throws his arms up into the air, bellows a prayer – tvameva maata, pita tvameva, tvameva bandhu, mama devedeva’ and ends it with Om Shanti Shanti Shanti, in a manner of telling God – ‘Hope you heard, heard, heard’.
Dogs…. Dogs (whom they call stray) are occupying respective turfs. And by the looks of them, the nation is not doing badly at all. They are all in solid health. Looks like they have eaten enough to last through the coming winter. Not just are they well-fed, they also look like they have had an upgrade in model. They are in good sheen. And a group is having fun, playing run-and-catch at super speed… Oh the joy of seeing real life in motion…. Beautiful!
A Sikh gentleman and his evidently superior half are walking, she is a step ahead, and has a music player in her hand, where she is listening to some keertan…And humming along…
Boys are playing soccer vigorously… But the parivartan is that it does not look like rugby. They are even shouting kudos to each other.
An elderly man has found a willing audience in a middle aged man and is delivering a discourse to him. I catch verses from Bhagavad Gita, which he chants in a Punjoo way, where the ‘halant’ is missed, making words like arpita sound as arpit… And he is explaining – “Yogi kaun hai? Yogi woh hai jisko raag, dvesh naheen hai… Jo jeete jee aatmaa ko jaan chukaa hai… Marney ke baad gyaan mile tho kya pharak pade? Sabme ishwar dekho, sabme aatmaa dekho… kya pharak padta hai…”… And the younger man is listening attentively, head down.
The Sun is glowing red, from high.
A plump lady has brought her young son, and they are cycling in the walking path. Axecuse me, you know, young boy and all that… Jiyo beta!
A man in his nineties is walking jerkily, which would actually translate to jogging by a younger man – in terms of effort… And he is all compassion, lifting his hand to acknowledge everyone who crosses him…
There is parivartan in the air all right in Dilli. Yesterday, I found that cars were not honking threats as they used to. I mean, no one was honking from behind when the light turned green. Cars being kind to each other, I mean is this Dilli or what… The whole city may well be in love, singing ‘Baaboojee dheerey chalnaa… pyaar meeiiiiiinnnn, zaraa samhalnaa…’
But in the park, they speak of politics…. They speak of Parivartan… And they do know, from long experience, ‘haaan… bade dhokey hain…..bade dhokey hain is raah mein’…
But Dilli is Dilli… Johnny Walker zindabad… Hum sab char sau bees hain…
Mud mud ke na dekh mud mud ke,
Mud mud ke na dekh mud mud ke !
Zindagaani ke safar mein tu akela hi nahi hain
Ham bhi tere hamsafar hain…
As i reach home, I spot a sparrow. Sparrows are making their way back to Dilli! Parivartan! Signing off this post, remembering Manna Dey, and humming..
kaun aayaa mere man ke dvaare,
paayal ki jhanakaar liye…