Maximum City – Do You Like Delhi?

The Delhi walla‘s pretension in writing makes me want to lodge a bullet in his balls – Blogger Nimpipi, the woodchuck chucks
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The Capital is everyone’s favorite punching bag.

[Picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Do you like Delhi? This is the question The Delhi Walla put to a few people. This is what they said:

“I detest Delhi”
This town is a collection of tombs. You stand at the top of Humayun’s Tomb and all you would see are Muslim rubbles made from the demolition of Hindu temples. Being from the south where we have temples older than 400 years, it is disturbing to not to come across any pre-18th century Hindu monument. But why talk of monuments, I’ve yet to see a jhopri in the Capital. It seems all the poor people have been thrown out. Where are they living? This forced dumping is unimaginable in Bombay from where I come from. And Delhi’s people? You know this is a city of refugees and everyone behaves like one. Everyone acts just as a hungry crowd would behave if you throw biscuit crumbs on them. Honestly, I’m sick of this place. It’s like a cul-de-sac. If all Delhi had one neck, I would have happily squeezed it. According to Mahabharat, this is the last Delhi. That’s a relief.
Ashok Rao Kavi, gay activist, living in Delhi since 2006

“No discipline”
Delhi resists orderliness, unless it is enforced with a big stick. This a city which was sadly at its most compliant with rules and law during Indira Gandhi’s Emergency.
Siddhartha Basu, TV producer

“Wouldn’t change it for the world”
Yes, you’ve seen other great cities. But here you have family and friends. Here you’ve lived all your life. Here you don’t have to ask for directions. You are part of the scene. You know people and people know you. Some say Delhi may be heading towards being an impersonal city but in our days, it was said to be an overgrown village. Everyone knew everybody. That’s the way it should be.
KD Singh, bookseller, The Book Shop, Jor Bagh

“Not a real city”
Delhi is not a city. It is a vast village, rural in its aspect and attitudes. And it can never ever become a real city. Real cities live out their lives on the street, where markets and private residences are not flung far apart, where there are public spaces for all to enjoy safely, where there are pavements for a cooling evening stroll. Delhi, instead, is private and centred around its drawing rooms. Civic infrastructure, while perhaps the best in the country, is still a joke by international standards. The rule of law is a cruel fiction. As for its citizens, the less said the better. After all, here is a place that brings out the worst in all of us.
Amit Dixit, travel writer

“Everybody cheats”
I live near Humayun’s Tomb and there you see tourists coming and going in great numbers. But instead of clicking the photographs of the monument, they click the picture of the squalor around. They take pictures of beggars, lepers and drunkards. I agree that our authorities do much for the upkeep of monuments but they hardly do anything to spruce up the surroundings. For instance, the railings at Humayun’s Tomb are covered with the clothes of beggars. And what to say about Delhiites? Everyday you hear of girls being raped. Everybody cheats. We as a people must change. This is a very sad situation.
Anjolie Ela Menon, painter

“It’s Kafkaesque”
Delhi is a historical city without memory of its history, or much to show for it. All that are left are PWD invaded, ASI stigmatized sores. History has evaporated under heat, dust, and the rampaging horde of chole bhature, poverty, and paisa. The refugee has killed its refuge. It isn’t a commercial city, or even a political city. Once it was a babu city. Now, it’s just a woven silk tapestry of a vision of Kafka. It is a city about nothing. But what are cities about either way? Some have charm, some commerce, some culture, and others history; some all. Singapore and Taipei have come to symbolize the inert utilitarian ideal. Cities like Paris epitomize culture, and history. Third world however has perfected a city about nothing. We are a city without culture, and our culture exists without a city. Since history, cities have been places where culture was perfected, thought about, perfected, written, memorialized. Today cities are unmoored lampposts of venal globalization, greed, and vivid tableaus of the toll that such acts take on a country and the soul.
Gaurav Sood, blogger