Monthly Archives: July 2013

Chandni Chowk

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Visiting old Delhi is like a twisted delight which constantly knocks certain serious questions on one’s mind. The moment I stepped in I could see glimpse of some old structural designs showing how magnificent this settlement would have been in its glory days and yet how badly we managed it.

Today I took a journey to Chawri Bazar and Chandni Chowk, the places which are talked like jewels in Delhi’s history. Well to be honest what they are today just bewilders me. What I saw was and old man trying hard to keep up with todays’ youth. What we forget is that some flavors are best when preserved in their original taste. Wherein on one hand I was mystified thinking how charming and absorbing the lanes would have been some-day I was also highly disturbed to see how cruel development has been on it.

The walls still carry the architectural grandeur of old times but were all entwined with the electrical cables running across them. The lanes were to narrow and probably too crowded by autos, rickshaws & hand-pulled rickshaws while the crowd made it nearly impossible to walk on a relaxed- lethargic pace. It seemed there were just a handful of people like me and rest were all in hurry as if driven by some purpose.

Well before I move on let me tell you some bits about their history. Chandni Chowk (which if you translate in English comes to be Moonlight Square) was built somewhere in 17’th century during reigns of Mughal Empror – Shahjahan, by his daughter Jahanara Begum. Chandni Chowk had a pond and gardens all of them were lit up at night when moonlight descended. Just the mere thought of a royal pond surrounded by exquisite gardens glittering under moonlight fills up my heart with romance.

Chandni Chowk in it’s initial days extended from Red Fort to Fatehpuri Mosque and was bifurcated into 4 sections :
1. Urdu Bazaar
2. Phool Mandi (Flower Market)
3. Jouhari Bazaar (Jeweller’s Market)
4. Chandni Chowk (yes Chandni Chowk itself!!)

Well moving on from it’s history, today Chandni Chowk is known as one of the biggest wholesale market in North India. At my home name of Chandni Chowk usually crops up whenever a bunch of ladies are talking about going shopping for someone’s wedding to I had this predefined picture of this market being about fancy traditional attires but I was for a surprise today.

While walking through the main street across Chandni Chowk you can distinctly hear salesmen from various showrooms pitching in the specialties they have on offer. It is kinda hard not to notice that all major Saree Brands have their showrooms build so I thanked god that neither my mom nor my wife accompanied me. But big brands apart, charm of shopping in Chandni Chowk lies not in the showrooms but through the narrow lanes driving into it’s interior. There are so many shops each offering something different so you can understand what a verity you are in for.

Caution : Husbands/ Boyfriends beware “Do Not Accopmny Your Partner If They Insist You to Go To Chandni Chowk” I repeat “DO NOT ACCOMPNY THEM!!!!”

But soon I discovered that Chandni Chowk still is divided into specialties. As I moved on I suddenly ventured into a section full of shops dealing with electrical items and in no time I was on doorstep to Masjid (Mosque) Fatehpuri beyond which was a world for traders of spices and dry fruits.

Chandni Chowk is an absolute foodie’s delight!. You will walk across those famous rabri-faaluda, rabri-jalebi, golgappe, dahi-bhalle at regular intervals so Take Them On! .But I also gave a miss to the famous Paranthe-Wali Gali cause there is no better way to discover the mouth watering food than in company of friends. So I know I will be knocking it’s door soon with a growling stomach !!.

Even though today I nearly spent 5 hours exploring through Chawri Baazar & Chandni Chowk I know it in my heart that I will have to come back again. And this to me just summarizes how visually fulfilling this place is – you just can’t have enough.

Meanwhile, please feel free to share your experiences and views to add strength to this blog about Delhi!!

OPEN LETTER TO THE CHIEF MINISTER OF DELHI

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Dear Ms. Dixit

Good Evening to you!

I have a bad back ache and am tired of an extremely long and draining day yesterday. And that is why I write to you.

I wonder if you were in Delhi on 20th July 2013. If you were, I wonder if you stepped out of your residence and tried to enjoy a ‘drive in the rains’. If you did, I have some questions for you. If you didn’t, I insist that the next time you’re in Delhi and it is raining, please get out and enjoy the drive on the wide roads of Delhi. I was here yesterday and I was driving.

It is said that to drive in the rains, with the splatter against your windscreen and the splashes under your wheels, is quite an experience. An experience it was; only thing is, that it was not the romantic kinds as I was told it would be … it was traumatizing, horrifying and quite disconcerting. You and the previous leaders that Delhi has had, I presume, have always employed the best civil engineers and other specialists to build the infrastructure of this city. The Delhi Metro, the wide roads, the greenery all around etc. etc. are all indicators to that fact. I could go on and on about what is good about Delhi’s infrastructure (relatively?!) but that is not why I request your attention. I want to point at this very small fact that was possibly ignored by you and the people employed by you.

Drainage!

Just for the record, it takes about 35 to 40 minutes to drive from Central Secretariat to Dilshad Garden under usual traffic conditions on a usual day. It took me 215 minutes. That is almost 6 man-hours wasted (there were 2 people in the car). Not because of the rains, no … rains are good; no rain would mean no water from Delhi Jal Board and possibly no electricity from the BSES either. It was not the traffic either; on a Saturday evening, the traffic is usually sane and manageable and one cannot complain about 5000 other cars when I myself am out trying to do some chores. It was the amount of water on the roads… bad drainage, water-clogging, and the works! Am sure you must have read about it in the papers, I hope you have. So, when I say that there is water clogging in Lucknow and Kanpur and Bhopal, I tend to rubbish it by saying that they are not Tier-A cities, they do not deserve good infrastructure and I ask people to stop complaining. When people from Chennai and Kolkata squirm under the effects of bad roads and traffic management, I say, Mumbai is the Financial Capital and Delhi is the Political Centre of India and that Chennai and Kolkata need to do more to deserve some attention from the Governments, Centre and State. When Mumbaikars complain about rains and the aftermath, I say, never mind … your roads are not wide enough and there aren’t enough roads in the first place. So one would imagine that Delhi is the place to be eh?! Umm, there are parts of Delhi that are not Delhi and would possibly never be… and if they do not get good roads and other shit, so be it, really! But India Gate and the surrounding area? That is what Delhi is to most people who do not know Delhi. And even if those places are not taken care of, I wonder what’s all the fuss and façade about vision of Delhi 2020 blah blah. In my opinion, a good road with bad drainage is like good clothes without underwear … if you know what I mean.

What I do not understand, Ma’m, is how did this very important aspect of infrastructure miss everyone’s attention? Well it did, and I get that human errors happen often. But how is it that you and your ecosystem of politicians, bureaucrats and public administration sit on this issue, year after year, months after months, day after day and rains after rains and do nothing about it. Or are you telling me that you have done everything in your power to fix it, and that there is not a single engineer in India or otherwise who can fix the drainage problem? The number of man-hours spent on the road, the amount of fuel burnt and toxins emitted, the mental misery it caused is all something you would have taken notice of. But that does not suffice. Someone needs to act on it. And I am guessing that someone is you, you who have probably never taken your car out to enjoy a drive in the rains. Please do. And you will know what I am saying.

India wants to host the Olympics in 2020 I hear; all the best with that!

With much regards

Sairam Natarajan
(A worn-out citizen)

************ Everybody Connects To This One *****************
https://www.facebook.com/notes/sairam-natarajan/open-letter-to-the-chief-minister-of-delhi/10151493914731175

The Seventh Sense – Civic Sense

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Living life delliwala style involves practicing a lot of malpractices. While Delhi is being projected as one of the greenest & most affordable city to live in, we dilliwalas need to improve on quite a few frontiers.

The Major Civic Manners We All Need To Practice

1) To pee or not to pee:

God created us and god gave us water so it is perfectly natural to give it back to nature rather than donating it in public washrooms. I know it all seems so logical but how about utilizing the money you paid to government for developing public utilities? It’s your money which has been used so I am sure you don’t want that money to rot in ignorance.

Rudeness Is Delhi's Common Wealth

2)Help in hour Of need:

The most common example is ignorance toward accident victims. I know it is something that police has to deal with but they can only handle it once they are aware of it. If we can’t stop to help the victim at least call up an ambulance or police control room van to inform them of this incident. Think of your one relative in need and no one doing anything about it! (may that day never come).

Below picture is from a road accident in Jaipur but trust me we are no better.
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3) Jumping Lights:

We all know how to negotiate with traffic cops when caught, but why to reduce the weight in your pocket. Ever thought that best way to curb corruption is by ensuring that no one gets an opportunity to ask for bribe. The longest wait for a traffic light to go green will not exceed 2 minutes, so you know it’s not such a long wait after all.

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4) Garbage management:

Throw garbage in the garbage bins and not in your neighbor’s plot. Even the most remote colonies have garbage collection system or someone coming to collect garbage from your homes. 2-3 rupees a day is not a big cost to keep your locality clean.

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5)Spitting:

Pan Masala, Guthka, mucus or just plain saliva, we have all sorts of things stuffed inside out mouth which seek liberation, so why to keep that in bounds? Your city is like your home, so let’s not spoil it. Imagine someone sitting on their bedroom watching cricket match and just spitting paan-masala in the adjacent wall!! Well of course you don’t won’t do it!. So way can’t your respect your city in the same way?

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6)Queue Etiquettes:

Metro station ticket counter, bus stand, railway station counter, hospital window all of these have one thing in common – queue. There a quite a few of us who believe that allowing a person who landed before them to get opportunity ahead of them is an unfair practice. So they simply don’t use the queue and can shamelessly argue about it as well.

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7)Lane Driving:

It is famously quoted in India that if you can drive in Delhi then you are good for global arena. Superficially this looks good but this is something purely build on sarcasm. We Delhietes must be one of the worst sects of drivers, considering we hardly follow the traffic norms. There is no concept of lane driving, we lack patience and lack concept of “No Horn Please”, have high disregard for red lights(in fact sometimes we honk on red light to move the vehicle in front in order to jump the red light).

traffic

So friends what ya say? Shall We practice a few of these?

NOTE: The pictures used for presentation have not been clicked by me. They have been collected through various websites on internet.