The curious and unique collision of history leading to the current day fate of the recent spine-shivering gang-rape case. Well, I “currently” reside in New Delhi (the capital city of India) – same city where this shameless activity happened :(. As anticipated, the girl didn’t survive. I would not talk much about the case as it is all over the news.
Being a resident of Delhi it is a great thrill to be living in a city which has a glorious past and the evidence is there in all the monuments that dot the city. Delhi (aka Dilli) is one of the oldest cities in the world and for the past 3000 years has reincarnated itself. Although, the rule of the British has been virtually forgotten by the Indians, but their language has evolved into a colorful dialect all its own in this city. Virtually all of old Delhi, once famous for its high degree of Urdu culture was displaced by a largely peasant population of Punjabi immigrants which completely changed every aspect of the city, including the language.
The historical city, Delhi – honored seven times as the capital of empires – has been ruined and rebuilt again. Punjabi immigrants that have filled the newer parts of economically booming Delhi sice the partition of India in 1947 to the more historic but now decrepit ‘Purani (old) Dilli’ – where the legendary age old ‘Persian’ customs such as the ‘Kabootar’ (Pigeons) fights, the ‘Chor’ (Thief) Bazaars, the mysterious ‘Hakims’ (Doctors practicing an old school of medicine) are unquestioned parts of the daily lives of many and the mysterious subculture of indian Hijras (Eunuchs), who support themselves not only by dancing at weddings or on any kind of festivity, but by threatening to flash if people don’t give them money, in the old city and the new. The charming old ‘Quawaalis’ (musical forums) still alive there, and many other monuments – the tomb of Himayun and Hazrat Nizam-ud-din that I visited umpteen times as a kid, the ‘Sadhus’, an ancient culture intact with flavors… the list is endless.
The colourful nature of a city which has been a centre of political and social activity for thousands of years, Delhi is a city of many flavors. Some can be tasted, some viewed, some just felt and still others which are just to be believed…just taken for granted. Modern Delhi is a mess of a city yet it is: fascinating, frustrating, fun, and full of incredible people.
Delhi is multi-layered and not easily explained. Delhi has to be experienced. Delhi is not a city of throbbing activity unlike Bombay, where I am relocating next month. I am excited but having anxiety too as I will be leaving wonderful memories behind with the hope of visiting it frequently than never.
P.S. If you are intrigued to know more about Delhi, pick up the book City of Djinns to quench your thirst.