Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Delhi love

The one thing Delhi-ites take for granted is being able to bump into little bits of history every time they step out into their city. Being able to see ancient Mughal architecture from their car windows, exposed brick from another era as they walk the wide, wide roads and elegant jaalis peeking out at them from street corners.

I’m told that I exoticise everything I see when I travel. But I really can’t help that I love each place I visit. I might be promiscuous in my love for places, but there’s so much to see and love for so many reasons…
And Delhi, much like Calcutta (yes, I’m Bengali and I love the place), has so much to offer the peripatetic traveller. Which is how I always go city-seeing.

Delhi has stories to tell. Ruins, tombs, mosques, stone lattices, fallen empires and glory days. I like that in Delhi, next to a mosque is a Jain temple and next to that is a Hindu one.

Delhi lets me visit its museums and art galleries, bargain on its footpaths and meet friends for a long leisurely night out. A Delhi night lets you eat dinner, lounge at a coffee shop, go somewhere else for gelato and then still has time left over for you to drop in at a nightclub. Delhi nights let you go clubbing in spectacles and a baggy kurta without making you feel like you're any less of a babe.

Delhi lets you walk through the winding alleys of a market place and walk across the street, straight into a deer park. It lets me squeeze through a small gate and step out into a wide courtyard of a centuries-old madrasa. I can watch a cricket game from an ornate window many storeys above. I can drape an arm around an intricately carved stone pillar and lean languorously over a balcony like I could have done a hundred years ago from the same place, surveying the evening walkers below. I can crane my neck to search for the sunset with nothing but minarets and watermelon skies to fill my vision. Delhi makes me feel like a princess in sports sandals.

While I was there, I stayed in the breathtaking Sanskriti Kendra campus in Anandagram. When I wasn't checking out their Terracotta Museum and the Museum of Everyday Art, I was walking with peacocks early in the morning. Every morning.

I swear I felt like a princess. Walking with peacocks in the beautifully landscaped lawns, dewy from a sudden drizzle. Letting my fingers trace the sandstone jaali overlooking the grassy ampitheatre. Chancing upon an antique palanquin parked next to an old temple door and being transported back a hundred years all over again.
Walking with peacocks.
Now how is that not exotic, pray tell.

Also: Thanks muchly to Recluse for the drink and junk food, and my ACJ peeps for a most wonderful night out on the town. Delhi has wonderful hosts!