Aug 30, 2008
Dilli Meri Jaan...
So I am off. Yet again. Another journey comes to an end. A journey that began one chilly winter night in Morri with an acquaintance who went on to become a flatmate, a drinking buddy, a partner in crime and most importantly a friend who traversed a part of this journey with me. I remember how sceptical yet happy I had been when I came to Delhi. I had no illusions about how it was gonna be and having lived alone since 18 I knew I could handle most situations. But yeah I definitely did not know that this was what there was in store for me. Strangely it is only when you look back you realise how different reality is from the picture conjured up in your mind. You think this is gonna be a particular way but it turns out fundamentally differently. You chalk out a plan and want things to work out accordingly but things have a way to work out themselves. Otherwise how could I explain the comings and goings of people in my life and the funny course it took? How could I ever explain how desperate I had been for a change in job and looking around for over a year proved to be futile until I gave it up and said enough is enough and I am gonna apply for a Masters and that’s precisely the reason why I went to Pune, to sort out the documentation needed for applying for an LLM. But the bigger picture was slightly different. So here I am with a new job and a brand new city that I quite like coupled with Finooooo and my wicked younger sister and I am sure this is gonna be a heady combination.
What do I say goodbye to? I say goodbye to Delhi, the city I wasn’t born in, or grew up in, the city I never went to college in and except for an internship and two of my closest friends from college, the city with which I had no association with. I landed up in Delhi quite unexpectedly almost two years back and to be honest I haven’t felt out of place even a moment over here. I fell in love with it that one winter month I spent here over 3 years back and I continue to do so. It is not home cos home will always be Cal, can only ever be Cal. I wouldn’t have as poignant recollections attached to it like I do with Pune but I do have the most colourful tapestry of memories painted in my mind whenever the word Dilli will come up. I do know that I found a part of my self identity in this city and I wouldn’t be me without having spent some of the formative years of my twenties in this city.
I can’t possibly write about Delhi like a native Dilliwallah but I know that the most alluring quality of Delhi for me was the bouncy feeling it gave me every time, each time I came back. How happy I’d get when the cab would take me back to GK 2 through India Gate and the pang of envy I’d feel when we’d cross the High Court. How longingly I’d look at IIHC and the promises Khan Market always held. Morrisson became a second home after the initial disappointment of Turquoise Cottage shutting down faded away. I’d become such a South Delhi girl and I cribbed about travelling to Gurgaon or even CP saying “ Dude why can’t we meet at Def Col. Why CP? Tis too far.” Midnight drives from the Savirtri flyover to the airport, getting lost at the Noida toll road with barely any fuel in the car and praying to God that it lasts till the next petrol pump , the car breaking down on Lodhi road at 12 at night and putting the car windows up and chatting nineteen to dozen forgetting to keep a check on time as we waited for the mechanic to come. Those farmhouse parties at Chhatarpur where one could get totally talli on Patiala pegs and countless colourful shooters and flirt shamelessly with your forgotten crush knowing fully well this is not becoming with the sober and sedate image you have created but also knowing that worst comes to worst you will be taken care of cos there are countless people keeping an eye out for you. This is the place I learnt how to party till weee hours in the morning and still make it to office by 9 but what I also learnt was that living this lifestyle could also mean the death of my professional life and so I chose to lead a more peaceful existence. This is also the city where I met my almost mirror image, had the sweetest and the most bitter time of my life. But I had to let go cos sometimes that’s the best one can do for oneself. Evenings spent around the bonfire, winter time and the heater we carried from room to room as we changed our location. Meals at Pandara road, shopping at Sarojini and Janpath, M, Block Market, Kasbah, Cafe Fair Child, Cafe Turtle and Big Chill.
I could go on and on and on. Delhi is my comfort zone and I am quite surprised myself that I am ready to leave it and move ahead well aware that I leave behind a life I cannot come back to. I am being so clinical about this decision without a fear in my mind. But isn’t it always like this. We embrace something new with an inkling of what it can be like or maybe not even that. We move on and we don’t look back with any regrets. We don’t have that luxury. We’ll face whatever adversity comes our way and we will make our way through cos this is the beginning yet again.