Delhi is a city out of books and movies. Connaught place and Sarojini Nagar. Chandni Chowk and Meena Bazar. Lajpath Nagar and Janpath. Familiar, known names which offer a strange sort of comfort in an unfamilar stranger of a city.
Delhi has been kind to me though. I’ve walked its winding streets of Chandni Chowk and stopped dead in my tracks when a sudden turn has brought me face to face with the Red Fort. I’ve gazed at the Jama Masjid and the fascinating mix of people pouring out of its majestic structure and have eventually ended up stuffing my face at Karim’s. I’ve taken long auto rides through the heart of the city and have had the sudden, almost cheesy urge to stand up in attention when the wide, lush green roads have led me to the Parliament House. I’ve been to C R Park, and felt strangely disoriented as I’ve fought with shop keepers in Bengali and tried to remember where I am. I’ve travelled alone through the city. I’ve travelled alone after dark. I’ve travelled alone in a shared auto in Noida, where three people have almost perched themselves on my lap. And yet I’ve survived, with almost no scratches to show for it.
Living alone provides one with a distinct adrenaline rush of its own, and as I’ve tried to adjust to a life which still feels like one long (albeit slightly surreal and very hard working) holiday, Delhi hasn’t yet tripped me up and made me fall.
And yet, at the end of the day, I find myself missing one sprawling, humid city hundreds of miles away, because Delhi, with its wide green roads and swanky cars isn’t home.
And the roads do not have bits and pieces of twenty two years worth of memory attached to every one of them.