Madrid Diary – The Last Word

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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Madrid Diary - The Last Word

Looking at Delhi with new eyes.

[Text and picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

The Finnair flight from Madrid, via Helsinki, landed in Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport on September 27, 2009, at 3.23am. In the arrival lounge, only one of the four pre-paid taxi booths had a man behind the counter. He was sleeping on the floor. Outside, The Delhi Walla had to stand in a long queue to get a cab.

A mile later the cab veered off to the pavement while bypassing a truck on the wrong side. A dust cloud swirled up, entered the car window and coated me with its sandy layer.

(One week in Europe and I had almost forgotten the taste of dust.)

After leaving Mahipalpur, RR Hospital and Basant Lok behind, the cab driver increased the speed in the Ring Road. Motibagh, Bhikaji Cama, Medical passed in quick succession. Thanks to the Madridi hangover, not even the shuttered fancy showrooms of South Ex could prevent it from looking shabby. Soon came the signboard to the great Defence Colony. With the new Europe-returned status, my feelings for it were no longer the same.

When the car drove over the Lajpat Nagar flyover, I looked to the dismal apartments of Amar Colony to the right. It was all black and silent in the early morning hours. This neighbourhood is a bazaar, as well as a residential locale. During the day, it bustles with life. Its showrooms have more mannequins than customers; it has some very popular furniture stores; it has cafes, chhola bhathura eateries and momo stalls. Many students of the nearby Lady Sri Ram College live in rented flats here. The area is also popular with the young working people from the North East India.

A certain easy mood lingers in the alleys. Late night parties go on in rooftops. Romantic chitchats take place in coffee shops. In evenings gay people cruise outside Sapna Cinema. On Friday nights girls in party dresses bargain in broken Hindi with autowallas, haggling over meter charges. And topping it all, a conformist family-oriented Punjabi lifestyle supersedes these underlying sub-cultures. This and more is Amar Colony.

That is the thing with Delhi. On the surface, it is just another poor, crowded, chaotic, smoggy Third World city but poke deeper and you would discover pleasure.

Madrid might be a different world; so is Delhi.

The entire Madrid Diary

Madrid Diary – The Farewell Symphony
The last day in the Spanish Capital

Madrid Diary – The Iberian Sky
Poetry in the heavens

Madrid Diary – The Beautiful People
Portraits from Spain

Madrid Diary – Metro Melodies
Time out in the Alonso Martinez stop

Madrid Diary – Their Monuments, Our Monuments
Time out in San Lorenzo De El Escorial

Madrid Diary – Second Day, Second Show
Time out in the Spanish Capital

Madrid Diary – First Day, First Show
Time out in the Spanish Capital