Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lutyens delhi

A 45 minute drive from Gurgaon to Chanakyapuri at an average of 60-70kmph was mind blowing. For someone visiting Delhi after a gap of 5 years the city’s landscape was simply unrecognizable.

Common wealth games changed the face of landscape that once was Delhi and NCR. Lined with flyovers and 8 lane expressways the Leafy Lutyens Delhi has far outgrown its urban boundaries and remains hidden in the ever expanding urban landscape.

It is heartening to see that the grand Dilli designed by Lutyens still remains intact retaining its eternal grandeur reminding one of the immaculately designed urban planning and architecture that was a gift to many Indian cities from the British Raj. The tree lined Janpath, Rajghat, India gate, Rashtrapathi Bhavan and the South block where the political bigwigs hob nob remain unchanged atleast with the exteriors.

If there is one lesson for other Indian cities to learn from Delhi, it is the art of preserving the heritage and grandeur despite getting crowded, dirty and ugly with the never ending stream of migration from the hinterland.

Shopping in the streets of Old delhi is a pleasure. The swanky malls of Gurgaon pale in comparison to what a good 'value for money' and variety shopping at Lajpat nagar or Sarojini nagar markets or Chandni chowk can fetch you.

The Street food in Delhi:

The Bhutta in Mumbai is best eaten roasted smeared with nimbu, salt and red chilli powder.

In Delhi they are steamed under layers of hot sand, so that the corn steams in its own moisture making it soft and juicy without letting you to have second thoughts on the lines of god-is-the-water-safe-over-here...

The layers are plucked right before you , smeared with salt, kala namak ( not the bambiya red chilli powder and served hot. It does'nt matter that the weather is horrendously hot when the corn season is around.

Momo the steamed dumpling available in the veg and chicken varieties were initially introduced into the delhi street fare by the Tibetian refugees who escaped from tibet and sought asylum in Dharamshala and spilled over to Delhi. Since then they are one of the favorite street foods competing for market share with puchka, kadhi/ rajma chawal and parathas.
Spicy and steaming, momos apparently are best eaten with a Pepsi or a Coke. I think a glass of dry red wine would compliment the Momo very well.

The Delhi metro

Ah that was a delightful experience. Thank you Mr. Sridharan.

Ain’t any different from the London underground except for the fact that ‘Please Mind the gap’ is very sweetly repeated in shudh hindi translating into 'savdhani se utren' . ( Listen carefully to the embedded video clip)


I boarded the Metro from Rajiv Chowk. Rajiv Chowk, the underground metro station in the heart of Delhi as a landmark never existed in the Delhi that I knew years ago. I did know ‘Palika bazaar’ and ‘Khadi bhandar at Connaught place’ like the palm of my hand. I have visited this place so often before a brief halt during my himalayan treks. It is a shoppers delight, this part of Delhi. They used to be crowded and filled with tourists and touts alike, before the average delhiite switched over to the airconditioned malls and its overpriced showrooms.

Not any more. It is still a shoppers delight but for just the ones who flock for the sake of nostalgia or the touristy crowd that swarms around over here before taking off to more exotic parts of india like Benaras and the Himalayas.

Thank you Delhi metro.

Delhi fills one with the hope that when the Bangalore and Chennai metro see the light of the day, they will put an end to our traffic woes and the roads would be less crowded, less dirtier, more greener and just as nostalgic as they once used to be. It has happened in other big cities across the world and it shall happen over here too.

Sometimes the never ending construction and exasperating traffic jams across Bangalore saddens me. Just how much of a growth can a city take ?

I am yet another immigrant basking in the growth and opportunity that Bangalore has offered the Gen X of post liberalized India. It is a price we pay for development.

Angrezi is a phunny language

Makes you wonder how many english speaking / reading customers visit this quaint mobile dispensaries that you find sprung over the footpath in the big cities.
I guess they are in demand ...and their customers sure understand what they are selling.
Else they could not be so consistent, outspoken and bold with their banners.

Now there are some cheeky ones like is 'no parking' freebie for this entrance from a pest control agency.
I found this one just as I closed the toilet door at the fame cinemas toilet.
Got the message ... wiped the toilet seat clean with about one km of toilet tissue before stepping out.


This sign board at the one and only pay and use toilet inside the Taj mahal ( the original one in Agra) says it all .
I fumed citing the injustice to the jaintor who was rolling out toilet tissues to a white lady while i had to desperately hold my bladder while trying to fish out a Rs. 2 coin from my handbag.
He apologised and said Indian's did not know how to use public toilets , especially the toilet tissues.
Before I could speak any further he clarified that it was not the lack of civic sense among fellow indians that causes this notice to be put up, but plain economics. The foreigners pay Rs. 750 to get inside the Taj, whereas Indians (the legal heirs of Shahjahan) need to pay a mere Rs. 20.
Therefore the waiving of the toilet fee is a justified freebie for the 'mehmaan'.
Now this one was a banner from a leading recruiter in Salem, Tamil Nadu looking for fresh graduates in a local arts and science college.
We are hiring
Joint the growth
Possibly Proof reading is not their forte ... They do medical trption for their overseas clients.
God save the patients.

Death is nature ... you do not cause it ..
blares a road safety sign on NH7 . You cannot miss it if you were driving down the NH7 from Bangalore to Salem.
When driving at 100kms per hour it sure slows you down and makes you doubt your english comprehension skills or if there is something lost in translation.
There are plenty of them that the national highway authoriy of India have painted along the way so that the reckless driver is adequately warned (that is if he can read and understand english) about round safety and the fatal consequences of overspeeding.
This one though .. i did not think was a deterrent enough for the errant dirver speeding along the NH7 ...
'If you want to stay married ... divorce speed !!!'
Trust me about 9 out of ten drivers push the gas pedal at this point beyond the legally permissible limits hoping against hope for the vice-versa to come true.

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