18 September 2010

The Alleys Without Djinns

The earth has been wet, drenched. The sky - forlorn, grey, heavy with clouds. The raindrops are still fresh on the wires from last night’s rain. But these are all invisible from the box of the room I live in. But when you come out and stare at the remnants of the destruction left by the previous night’s rain I’m transported for a few moments, if not longer, to that window facing the lotus spread pond of mine on a rainy afternoon.

It is hard to think that more than a year have passed since I landed on the heartland, the capital, The City. This is definitely not the first rain I have witnessed here of course. I have braved its infamous winter, the unbearable summer and the mad monsoons. Time is an amalgamation of all the seasons as we see. The essence of the city (as one of my friends had remarked) - the spirit takes time to unfold. Likewise, for me the core of what Delhi is, is merely not the swanky malls, the concrete roads, the troublesome traffic, the famous somany sites (sounds), its high quotient life. Delhi for me, at this stage, is a collage of images, everyday images - an early morning glimpse of the India Gate in fog; the pigeons, the omnipresent pigeons, behaving like your guides throughout the city; the labourers with their shiny black backs labouring on the sweltering streets in midday, the view from the terrace of unending blocks of tall buildings, the laughter shared by a bunch of friends in an obscure small Chinese restaurant (whose waitresses have also traversed a long way from home), the momo corners around the market place, the gypsies habiting in the middle of the city. The subtlety has been minimal, almost unseen. The prejudices I had against the city (not that I was loaded with them) kind of got lost by the time I was actually seeped in by a part of it, as a curious observer. The music of the place have not formed a symphony nor do I expect it to be build up into one so fast but the amaltas of the last season, the unexpected quite moments shared in the heartland makes for some unforgettable starts to probing of the city with alleys without Djinns, real, throbbing with life, with variety and variants. Simple activities become enlarged. Introspection gets time even in this otherwise fast life.

That is the most amazing thing about the city, its full of strangers, full of outsiders, most of the people you see do not actually belong to the city - The students, the labourers, the gypsies, the job seekers, the transferred ones, the drifters, everyone. But how we become a part, an unmissable part, to create the whole the city is. I have been lonely but at times only when I chosen to be. Finding myself in the newest surrounding, which will slowly cease to be new, I wonder, I don’t reminisce. The time spent has been fast, keeping up to the fast paced life. Delhi is not a mirage and it’s a relief or perhaps. The discovery reaches the next phase and I can’t be more prepared to take on the role of the explorer.


P.S: Was written a month back, during the Mad monsoons

15 after-thought(s):

L said...

I don't know if they are still there, but 30 years ago, Delhi had these villages existing amidst the urban sprawl.... old villages, with old houses, women drying wheat in the courtyard, buffaloes wallowing in the village pond... It is like being in a different era, just a few yards from the main roads....Munirka village, Jia Serai, and one opposite NCERT, I forget its name..
And Haus Khas was a surprise...you walk through the dirty mud road of the village where someone is supervising a calving, take a turn and suddenly you are in a different world.
The crisp winter mornings were another thing I loved about Delhi.

Sujoy Bhattacharjee said...

Falling for the city...hmmm.
We sometimes have this desire to discover traces of the nostalgic past in the present, don't we?
Charmingly written especially the line "Introspection gets time even in this otherwise fast life"

SANDIPAN said...

oh such peace.....almost seems commercial...makes up an image of saturation....like a daily routine followed everyday with the occasional break of a distant look at the horizon.....almost unconcious....


and delhi....i searched more haryana in delhi...than actual delhi maybe during my short stay there.....there is a tussle in me...

Quirky Mon said...

wonderfully written...the visual imagery that your words evoked brought back my own memories of the city.

Anorak said...

Delhi ... O! Delhi, why do u make it difficult to love u, I give my everything to you but still neither can love you nor hate you ... years have passed but I still can't see my dreams in you, A distant mirage yet, even though I live with you everyday, I wish I can fall in love with you some day....... Ur words did something to me, felt something inside/.... thanks!!!!

modern exile said...

Cannot say about the rest, but Haus Khas village is very much there. It was one of those crisp winter mornings L that made me see the India Gate in a different light. And then there is old Delhi and the street foods... ah!

How are you though? Been not reading for quite sometime now. Hope everything’s well, L. Take care.

modern exile said...

Falling? Eh! Really? That would be too definitive a word but like I said, donning the explorer’s hat is always a pleasure. What say?

modern exile said...

‘An Image of Saturation,’ ah! Makes me imagine serene; necessarily, grainy scenes....
The Haryana these days represent a lot of the Delhi, sadly...

modern exile said...

@ Quirky Mon: Gracias :)
Memories, particularly the good ones, always transport me to windy days. To think that I brought alive some for others make the writings more pleasurable, for me.

modern exile said...

@ Anorak: Is there a phase called “in between love”? Are there half empty somethings? Yes, there are. Do mirages exist? They do, don’t they?
Can you define everything? Can you?
I let the questions trail.
Had my words been that powerful? Thanks, nevertheless :)

Goirick B said...
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Goirick B said...
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Goirick B said...
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L said...

You brought back memories of my youth in Delhi. Glad to see you are sounding happier about the city than when you first went there.

Tanaya said...

Your language is really beautiful..love it