DELHI : Through The Eyes Of A New Girl In The City


I juggle between gobbling my breakfast and ironing my dress as I try to book the cab to work. Technology is supposed to make our lives easier. It has indeed. I have to start the booking process half an hour in advance as it will take fifteen minutes to only book my elite conveyance and another fifteen minutes for the driver to steer clear of the mind boggling traffic and reach me with minimum 3 calls and my explaining the way despite putting the exact location on GPS. Well I guess I can’t really complain as long as I get a safe and clean medium to transport me to work

This morning has been rather messy & chaotic compared to other mundane & drab mornings Delhi witnesses. It has rained all night through and unlike smaller towns who get pleasant after showers, our city begs to differ. The dusty roads get muddy, drains overflow with the slightest hint of water and the smaller shops and establishments shrink their shades even closer as if trying to escape its hands and legs from every drop of water. I do not live in the ‘posh’ areas of Delhi as I was ‘fussy’ enough to not agree to stay in overpriced servant quarters attached to lavish 30-something BHKs. My locality has more of middle-class gen trying to make it big in the big city. And so do we also have all sorts of vendors, butchers, cobblers and temporary set-ups around

AT 9:25 AM

I am out of luck today as its seems entire Delhi wants to travel neat and clean on a muddy cloggy day.

Realising I am not entitled to the privilege I set out to take the auto. I step outta my building and pick my dress to jump over the seemingly small potholes. With an unapologetically dorky laptop bag and my flowy kurtas capable of dusting the floor for 20 meters, holding myself and jumping around I sure can give monkeys a run for their bananas. Ironically I think long Kurtas are supposed to make me look elegant and yet here we are. Anyways, I’m glad its only drizzling, who cares for makeup anyway (Sigh!).

There are people still bustling around and no rick in sight. After being rejected by 2-3 ricks who royally denied to go in my direction,

This one stopped and pitying my condition, agreed to drop me to NFC West. I hurriedly pulled the plastic curtain over and was about to get in when I noticed a guy sitting in there. Immediately I yelled at the rick fellow, ‘Bhaiyya dekh ke toh bithaya karo!’.

He retorted ‘Madam baithna hai to baitho.. aapko yahan riksha nahi milega’. He did have a point and I was almost drenched so I reluctantly slid in beside the stone figure who was unfazed by any conversation I just had with the driver. Giving in to the eternally pretty image I have of myself in my mind, I was sure this guy will make a move on me…

AT 9:50 AM

Ten minutes of sheer silence. The guy, let alone taking a chance on me didn’t even bother enough to raise his eyes to give me a look. I was pleasantly relieved and slightly perplexed in the same moment. Not that I wanted any attention from him, but the whole built up of fight dialogues in self- defense in my mind gone to utter waste. Busy on his mobile phone, he was a very average built wheatish complexioned guy (yes I am racist sometimes). Wearing half sleeved chequered shirt and worn out faded blue jeans, I wonder where could he possibly be in a rush to go.

I was determined not to say a word, its Delhi after all! You never know what kind of creeps you may encounter! He was wearing two stone rings, coral and opal in his right hand.

And that’s all the attention his wardrobe could possibly garner. The traffic wasn’t moving and it was slowly getting on my nerves. I was sitting impatiently to just somehow get to my destination. Suddenly out of nowhere somebody ran past through our rick followed by some cops. Even on the messy slippery roads, they managed to beat the best of gymnasts at stretching and twisting their bodies to somehow jump over and around the cars and other vehicles stuck in traffic. The boy got caught eventually and was taken away by cops. He would be released after sharing half his prize by cops, exclaimed my driver. He then went on to say “Chori ka kisi ko shauk nai hai, majboori hai sabki”. I was slightly appalled by his blatant support for the burglar but I chose to reserve my opinion.

AT 10:10 AM

We are moving finally and my office is just around the corner, so have to get through this last patch only to win the battle for the day. My fellow passenger’s cellphone rang and he was profusely apologizing to someone for being late. Turns out he was a service executive at some local manufacturing firm and they had a customer complaint right in the morning and him being late was apparently worsening the situation. He hung up the call and silence ensued again. He got down before me and rushed to his work almost forgetting the bag behind him. Rick fellow gave him a shout out and he hurriedly picked up the bag and with the same stoned expression, continued on his way. I realised that as hyped as Delhi is about being unsafe, that may not even be its actual problem.

The city is perennially and chronically depressed. Spending hours on commute, battling atrocious weather, dealing with personal and professional pressures and still somehow trying to make ends meet.

This too on a regular, repeated and insanely monotonous level.  It all percolates down to energies being misdirected in crime. I am not even remotely justifying the crime rate or the associated toll it takes on the people but only vaguely attempting to understand the psyche behind realities. Well what do I know, I am still new in here.

AT 10:20 AM

I finally arrive at my revered land of livelihood. New day, new beginnings await me. Albeit with a new set of challenges that are again tainted with characteristics of the city. Will write again soon. Ciao for now!


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