The symbol of Delhi.
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The DL number plates given to cars, auto rickshaws and bikes registered in Delhi frame the view of the city’s roads and streets. These two alphabets arranged together speak for the capital: its heat, smog; its aspiration to be a ‘World Class City’. The DL number plate is also symbolic of our pretension, showiness and vulgarity. Our honking. Our uncivilized traffic manners. DL also indicates Delhi’s status as the world’s most polluted city–in January 2016, the city’s government introduced the 15-day odd and even registration number driving rule for cars to curb pollution.
But when you are in some other land, far from Delhi, and suddenly a car overtakes you bearing a DL number plate, an exquisite pleasure invades the senses. The DL sighting then reveals a softer aspect of Delhi, something that you like about the city. Perhaps Lodhi Garden, perhaps Dal Makhani. In such an event, DL becomes more than a number plate.
There Goes My DL
15. (What’s your DL number, sir?)