City Life – Are You an Upper Class Delhi Walla?

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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Big Car People

We all have dreams.

[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Some people have a woman’s soul trapped in a man’s body. I fancied having a South Delhi (read Jor Bagh) soul trapped in an East Delhi flat. One evening that illusion ended for good.

After much scheming, I managed to get an invite to the birthday bash of an ex-Maharani (I’m her friend’s friend). There I was – at a white bungalow in Malcha Marg, a diplomat-dense neighbourhood in Central Delhi. Uniformed security guards, a driveway, a garden, and Her Highness’s car – so long, so sleek.

In the living room, the coffee table had a candelabrum lit up with five candles. The sofa was velvety. The bookcase was full, and the maid greeted in English. The welcome drink was champagne. The music was by Bach or perhaps Beethoven or perhaps Chopin or some such person. The total effect was very civilised. I imagined this to be home. Until more guests streamed in.

First came a Kashmiri businessman and a French art dealer. Then a book publisher. He was followed by a lady who divided her time between Pondicherry and Nizzie (Nizamuddin East, not Nizamuddin West). Then came an Old Money who had his own house in Amrita Shergil Marg.

This was the topside of the Upper Crust Delhi. I made a ‘We all are Khan Market-ies’ eye contact with the Amrita Shergil man. His shoes were probably worth more than my entire monthly salary. I tried making polite talk with the Frenchman till the time he said that I speak like Mickey Mouse. Keeping my composure, I asked the ex-Maharani for more champagne – so casually as if I have it every evening.

I continued ‘acting’.

I pinched my lips sadly when the Kashmiri businessman told me – in Emma Thompson’s accent – how cosmopolitan Srinagar once was. I nodded knowingly when the Pondicherry lady noted that “school fees in London are killing”. Soon I got drunk, got tired of being a Jor Bagh type.

Then all I wanted was to curse in Hindustani, gulp down a Patiala peg, and order chhola bhautras from Haldiram’s. It was getting suffocating. When the clock struck 12, I said my Salaam-Namaste and escaped out into the open air. It was clear: I could never walk, talk and laugh like a upper class Delhi walla. So?