It’s 6:00 AM and a calm morning glow sets into my room from my window. Personally I don’t like to get up before 7:30 so upset over my wife who did not pull the curtains properly last night, I dragged my ass to my window. With eyes half closed I took a peak outside and it was that perfect magical time when sun is not up but the sunlight has arrived in atmosphere.
I could see the trees & their leaves swaying with a soft breeze flowing past them and that pulled my attention to the slightly overcast sky. And now I couldn’t pull the curtains across the window because suddenly so many feelings started flowing to me through the glass of my window. Memories from my schooling days, and a few from last year were suddenly out from the closet and started to paint me in their flavor.
As a kid I used to be make those paper boats and be a viking ruling small streams of rain water flowing at my backyard during heavy rains, I used to run across my lawns just in shorts while my elder sister used to shout at me, asking me to cover myself with a raincoat. I feel that playing in rains has a special magical connection with our childhood and it is one of the most cherished activities which we leave behind while growing up.
5 Monsoon Things I wish I had never stopped doing while growing up:
1) Make boats and see them floating away with monsoon streams.
2) Get on the playground and have a soccer match with my friends.
3) Shaking tree branches while passing through to see droplets settled on leaves & branches shower a mini-rain.
4) Go cycling on roads which got deserted by heavy rains. I had my entire friend’s group doing that!
5) Acting sick to skip school.
5 reasons why I still love monsoon:
1) No better time to enjoy killer triple combo of hot masala tea-pakoras-pudhina chatni.
2) Savior from scorching Delhi summer heat.
3) Greenery of our parks, gardens & trees is at it’s best.
4) Most romantic time of the year.
5) The heavenly scent of moist soil which floats in the air. This is the fragrance and nothing compares to it.
However, despite of painting Delhi in it’s best shades, Monsoon is not always best of seasons. Here is the list of things which I wish never happens during monsoon :
1) Traffic jams.
2) The stench which arises from overflowing drains.
3) Water logging.
And one important suggestion:
Avoid Delhi Street Food During Monsoons.
Invitation On Behalf Of Delhi
I know lot of news gets splashed about rapes happening in my city and this has really tarnished the image of my Delhi. I understand the heavy criticism and I myself get awestruck every morning when similar news is splashed on front page highlighting such incidents.
Being born and brought up in Delhi, I take a lot of pride in identifying myself as Delhite but trust me recent publicity wave has pushed me to the wall taking away nearly all my defenses. It feels like you can relate to Arthur from movie “King Arthur” who had discovered that the purpose & Rome which he had been fighting for didn’t exist any longer.
It’s is like a huge which monster has taken shape , and all the good qualities of my city have taken a backseat against it. When I look back maybe I was just becoming a part of the crowd which started believing that Delhi is not meant for women but I am glad I have been pushed out of that phase.
A few years back Shobha De had blasted the entire community of Delhi men in her article and then to my memory there was another impactful blog post “Letter to a Delhi Boy” reflecting views of a south Indian girl on boys in Delhi, all pointing out to one conclusion that Delhi is not safe for women.
Yes there are concerns for women safety but can these really define my entire community? The most honest answer would be a ‘NO’. There is a lot more to my city, which goes deeper than what has been projected as a superficial image of Delhi men.
The image which you get to see in everyday life, while you are out shopping, in malls, travelling through metro or public transport and not on a news report supplemented to you in your native city. A handful of men getting into ladies compartment in a metro makes it to news but no one talks about those bunch of people who vacate their seat to accommodate a lady passenger to save her from frenzied Rajiv Chowk crowd. We are a community sensible enough to call our wives as “Home Ministers” and mature enough to handle the reigns of governance to a women chief minister.
We all read the headlines where “RAPE” are mentioned and allow them to make judgments on our behalf but do we ever keep the follow up of these news in our memory where the case comes out as a pressure technique to make a guy commit to marriage, or it was a false case of enmity to implicate someone wrongly. Or have you cared to think that how many times an accused or rape gets caught from your native town or village which is not Delhi. Have you ever googled how many people land up every day in Delhi from distant parts of India to get an employment or pursue their education? Majority of these come from closed communities and suddenly become mainstream part of a progressive culture where their perception for “women” gets challenged.
But of course you would rather publicise men ogling at your assets but not talk about some friendly stranger who would give you directions to your destination, or even drive in front of you till you reach where you intend to. You vent out your objections over guys trying to impress girls by boasting about their Lamborghini but what else do you expect some man to do after splurging a hefty 100 Lacks on a car? Humbleness?
Kindly understand that my intentions are not to shed off my responsibility to make my city safe or shift the blame on migrants or simply shrug a sensitive issue off my shoulder or project Delhi as flawless destination. My city has many shades and is a complex design woven together by threads of various cultures, communities and people and has many struggles of it’s own. If you paint my city with one color only – Women Harassment, then not only are you doing an injustice to the vibrancy & buoyancy which Delhi has to offer but you are also depriving yourself from opportunity to discover the gamut of experiences which Delhi has on it’s platter.
My City is not a perfect blend but for sure it has a flavor worth indulging in. So please be a “Atithi” and discover Delhi beyond common perceptions.
Me To Paanwala: Bhaiya ye auranzeb ki baoli kahan padegi? (could you direct me to auranzeb ki baoli?)
Paanwala: Hain? (What?)
Me To Paanwala: “Auranzeb ki baoli” suna hai yahin kahin aas paas hai. (“Auranzeb ki baoli”, I was told that it was somewhere nearby.)
Paanwala: Saahab Auranzeb ne koi banayi to pata nahi!, par ugrasen ki paas mein hi padegi. Wo gali se andar ho jao phir pehla right. Seedha wahin pahochoge. (I dont know if Aurangzeb made one, but there is one in close vicinity created by Ugrasen. Go through that lane and then take first right, it will take you to your destination.)
Me: Thank You bhaiyaji.
Paanwala: Akele jaoge kya? (Going there alone?)
Me: Haan ji bahiya (Yes)
Paanwala : with a smirk on his face.. Phir kya faayda (You might not enjoy it then!)
Speechless & confused I walked to where I was directed. Must me a few hundred yards of walk and I reached the gate. Conveniently located among residential colonies, the red walls will large blocks of stones spoke a language of medieval times sufficient to hint that I had reached my destination.
Ugrasen Ki Baoli also known as Agrasen Ki Baoli is a stepwell which must have been created in pre-lodhi era which delhi witnessed and signifies the time when water was respected and efforts were made to search & preserve it. In fact on my conversation with the guard, there was water in the step-well till 2010.
Even though various residential settlements & buildings hover around it and it is located at heart of Delhi yet it is surprisingly peaceful and a perfect place if you are searching for withdrawal for frenzied city crowd. A solitude which was mostly broken by the flutters of pigeon’s wings.
I observed that it was mostly couple which occupied the human crowd inside the monument and and the monument windows give shelter to their desire for being close together away from preying eyes of people around them.
The compound also have a mosque inside but for some reason beyond my understanding, guard did not permit me to get close to it! :(.
Meanwhile for your reference the stepwell which is now an ASI protected site has more than 110 steps, so you know that it does run deep. It’s length is 60 meters (north to south) and is 15 meters wide.
It is within walking distance from barakhamba metro station and is located on Hailey Road, Connaught Place. Timings are 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
This one if for neighborhood auntijies who are too busy peeping inside my house than their’s
Inspired By My Cousin Nayan .
It’s 2 PM, scorching hot and I am done with my exams, how abnormal do you think it would be to have friend’s over at my place? Well I just opened a bottle of coke and started with James Bond movie, when out of blue the doorbell rang. It was a little odd time to be expecting visitors so under impression that another of my friend might have arrived, I opened the door with a smile just to get it snatched away. It was the auntyji from the other side of the park and before I could open my mouth, with her eyes prowling behind my shoulder she popped up her question “What are you doing with your friends?” and I was like “How the fuck does it matter to you?” (obviously inside my head).
I am sure that this is not just one incident but all of us in Delhi have such auntiji’s but such sneaky eyes, probing brain and interfering nose as our neighbor. It;s not just Nayan (my cousin) but even my patience & politeness has been tested on numerous occasions by similar characters the only activity during their slothful housewife day is to sit on their window and gather intel about their surrounding. This intel is later shared & distributed among their sisterhood during their routine gatherings.
BBC : Bhenji (sisterhood) Broadcasting Corporation.
The network is generally strongly connected to different parts of the colony you reside in and they ensure that the sisterhood covers nearly all corners of the block you reside in. This way all the houses remain under their surveillance and it gets impossible to break their code “NO ONE ESCAPES”.
BBC : Creative ways to counter BBC Agents.
1. Ignorance : Well we all know this one. The best way to defeat their advances is to ignore their presence.
2. Sarcasm : This one is not meant for everyone, sarcasm is a weapon to be used on opponents with above average intellect. You surely would not like to speak golden and then elaborate the same in simple language. It just takes the charm out of kill.
3. Delude : Use some diversion, come up with spicy topic or cook up some hot gossip to ensure that her empty mind is occupied with something else. Send her on a wild goose chase (test your skills and try it multiple times :P)
4. Play Tit-for-Tat: Yes, how about giving her a taste of her own medicine. Keep an eye on her house for a few days and on every possible opportunity ring their bell to ask the questions she asks from you.
5. Be Straightforward : Well even though this is the lamest and tasteless of all possible alternates but works pretty well. Tell her to Shut Up And Mind her Own Business!! (little politely). Though the best thing about point 5 way is that it will save you a lot of effort but be warned that this will keep your wit unused.
So, Best of luck and feel free to share your experiences and ideas to counter the BBC