As a kid from Jaipur, I was in awe of the city. Every year, as soon as the summer breaks would start, I’d run to my grandparents’ place in Indraprastha & spend the 2 months there. The smallest things about living in Delhi like the trend of living in flats instead of bungalows, the drives with ice-creams around India Gate, the small market that came up every Wednesday in front of the flats & the tiny cafés selling the best chicken rolls I’ve ever tasted; all really charmed their way into my heart making Delhi, the most charming city for me.
As I grew up, I got more & more fascinated by the city despite of the media reports of rising rape cases in the city. I just wanted to come here & be one of the many “cool and independent” college students that we so often see in Bollywood films.
And, my dream came true! I got into DU. My grandparents moved out of the city. In short, there it was! My gateway to being a free bird! I got into LSR for an honors degree in Economics & shifted in with my best friend from school. I had everything I wanted, friends, college and DELHI! The idea of being in Delhi made me ecstatic! I think the idea of being able to visit Khan Market more often was the dominant factor, though.
The city however, does take its toll on you. It’s not the Dilliwalas who do that, it’s the outside people, the migrants who’re umm…, not so dilwala! The first year’s turbulent. Apart from the confusion about what image the movies portray of college life & what it actually turns out to be, the biggest confusion that people like me face is the lack of honesty & sincerity in people. The best friends that I’ve made in college are all Delhi-ites. The rest, well, they’re unworthy of even a mention here.
Looking back in time, I realize that Delhi isn’t just what I imagined it to be, there’s much, much more to it. It’s not just about being black or white, the gray always lurks somewhere close by. The city teaches you so much. In these two years, not only has Delhi stimulated my tastebuds with its seasoned variety of food, from the roadside momo stalls to the high-end, posh restaurants, but it has also developed me as a person, made me stronger, more mature and more independent.
From the tiniest things that form a part of your daily life like washing your own clothes & taking care of your own meals to the bigger things like making career choices & giving entrances like JNU, D School etc; it is this life that makes me what I am today.
Delhi teaches you the value of money. From sky high rents to the food costs, the city will definitely make a BIG hole in your wallet but, the experience is worth it! The days when you’re broke, when you have to walk in the unbearable cold of the winters & heat of the summers, making your way through the many stray dogs that go mad in the heat and the innumerable rickshaws that are never on the right side of the road, are the days when you appreciate how blessed & protected your time at home was & at the same time, get amazed at the fact that how independent you’ve become.
The most interesting thing about Delhi is that not only is the city modern but, it also has the flavor of history. From the Baha’i temple, Humayun’s Tomb to the Qutab Minar & the ‘khooni jheel’ near the university campus, Delhi has ample scope for couples, who’re low on budget, to go for a date to these places where nobody’s interested in going nowadays as they prefer ‘The Big Chill’ to them and thus, one finds walls covered with graffiti that reads “Babli loves (complete heart with the arrow through it) Ramesh” and the sorts!
In the end, all I can say is that with good people or bad, cheap food or expensive, monuments or no monuments,
“ye dilli hai mere yaar,
bas ishq mohabbat pyaar.”