I had woken up at 4 in the morning, which I have done only a very few times in my life, to leave Delhi for a week or so. The weather seemed to be on my side for once but I knew it wouldn’t be long before the deceptive bluish sky turned bright white with the heat and turned Delhi into an oven at 44*C, just like the past few days . Perhaps it was the combination of all these facts along with the long ride to the Nai Dilli Railway station that made me particularly observant of the city I had lived in for the past 8 years.
For the first 4 of these years I was both too young and ignorant to care much about the city I lived in. In the fifth year, while showing Delhi to an out of town cousin, I fell in love with the City Of Djinns myself. I needed a foreigner – Mr. Dalrymple, to teach me about the city I had lived in for so long…and I proved to be a good student.
This year, after leaving school, I discovered 764’s, 540’s, 524’s – Blue lines, Chartereds, DTC’s that crammed the city roads like the blood running through the cities veins and surrounded you in traffic jams but were nowhere to be seen near the bus stop when you needed them the most. And with that I learnt you can’t know Delhi through extensive reading and research, all you have to do is climb aboard a 540 blue line and survive the journey till the end. If I can guarantee you one thing, it is that if you come out of the journey alive you will know both the people and places of Delhi much better then you can imagine, perhaps even want.
This one journey (if you could call it that), from my house to the station – crossing the concrete jungle that is Dwarka, the pristine stillness and cleanliness of Ashoka Road, Rajpath, Janpath, Cannaught Place and every thing that makes Delhi what it is, made me think of how after all these years- Delhi is ‘MY’ city and now from the conversations of the people sitting all around me on the train I realize that all these people consider Delhi to be their city too.
But as I stare out of the train window at the outskirts of the city that is fast fading behind me and constantly changing like the view from my window, I realize that Delhi belongs to no one.
This is perhaps where its real beauty lies.