City Travel – Paris Complex, Left Bank
The Delhi Walla in the French capital.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The Delhi Walla is trying too hard to be a Parisian.
I had macarons in Laduree. I read Le Monde by the Seine. I acquired Flaubert’s Sentimental Education from Shakespeare & Co.
I spent an entire day with a second-hand paperback on Pont des Arts, a creaky wooden bridge where lovers attach iron padlocks on the railings, throwing away the keys into the river.
I spent an evening in a French restaurant – complete with check curtains and paper table covers – where I had cassoulet and profiteroles.
Perhaps this is not Parisian at all.
Perhaps the real thing might be beyond me.
In Paris, I have been meeting painters, poets and novelists. The drawing rooms on the left side of Seine terrify me with their cleverness and culture, Art and Literature – as if learning to correctly pronounce the wine names is not enough.
It is too exhausting for a struggling writer from a World Class city like Delhi to sound informed among the intellectuals. Of course, I have heard of Manet, Rilke, Stockhausen and Deleuze but unlike a Parisian sophisticate, I cannot string these names into a casually spoken sentence.
The artists whom I met in Rue De Seine, the street that is home to most of the established galleries, are too demanding. They expect me to discuss the Upnishads and the Mahabharat.
But wait a minute.
I prepared for this dream trip by being thorough on Marcel Proust. But here when I brag about A la recherche du temps perdu, they ask me about Vedanta. Instead of discussing Godard with me, they request penetrating insights on Satyajit Ray. I boast about my knowledge of the Spanish collection in Louvre, but they expect me to discourse on the frescoes of Ajanta.
I have got the hint. To be a man of this world, I must also understand my land.
The Paris complex
You are right . If you want to know others you must know about yourself .vedanta is difficult to explain in words but our way of living is replica of Vedanta .The article along with photographs is superb but one should sleep in the early morning rather than posting this article.
my goodness, Paris is gorgeous!
So true, Delhiwalla. Our education is incomplete if we don’t know our own country. I, for one, would run away from any ‘discourse’ about the Vedanta before I expose myself as a total ignoramus and spend the rest of my trip with a red face. But you have bravely crossed that bridge 🙂
a very pertinent conclusion. but u had macarons from Laduree….
macarooons! I fed myself with macarons in June in Paris, I love them. Well, I lost 6 kilos in 10 days, as between macarons there was nothing. I will show you the Japanese macarons boutique, forget about Laduree.
better late then ever.be a Delhi wala………..
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