January 1, 2008 – Letter from The Delhi Walla
Coming home to Dilli.
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The last week of the last year was memorable. Along with Arundhati Roy’s twins, I travelled to Ajmer, Jaipur, Fatehpur Sikri, and Agra.
The medieval alleys of Ajmer, saturated with Jerusalem-isque spiritualism, overwhelmed my senses. The meetha paan in Jaipur’s Jauhri Bazaar brought me easy laughter. The Hindu-Muslim-Christian influences in the ruins of Fatehpur Sikri made me sentimental. The obscene beauty of Taj Mahal blinded my eyes. I did other, unmentionable, things too. Like the namaz number in Ajmer dargah and evening aarti in Mathura’s Krishna temple. It all was heady and too much. Sometimes I had tears in my eyes.
The familiar world too disappeared. No internet, no blogging, no writing, no reading. Just me, Arundhati’s Rahel-Estha and a world I had not seen before.
Later I came back to Delhi.
Back to chaos, traffic jams, auto wallas, mobile phone ring tones, Ashram flyover, art gallery cocktails, Ballimaran, PVR, Dilli Haat, e-mails, work, Mandi House plays, friends, Khan Market bookshops, The Delhi Walla, metro, money, filth, Opel Astras, bhenchod-maderchod, Lajpat Nagar, Delhi Times, Punjabi ladies, Big Chill, road rage, Moti Mahal Deluxe, Vasant Kunj murders, LSR girls, Jantar Mantar dharnas, ITO, Shiela Dikshit…
Really, Delhi is just so third world. But I was missing it and was relieved to be back.
Happy New Year to readers of The Delhi Walla.
Awestruck in Ajmer
Lover-less in Fatehpur Sikri
Wishes in Salim Chisti’s Dargah
Oh Taj (!)