Had there not been so much written about the city in media, one would never guess or feel it’s an unsafe city at all. In fact I remember once I was caught unawares and blasted by my friend for ‘daring to walk’ from a metro station to her house which was by the way, just 2 mins away, at 10 PM in the night. My first experience of the modern Delhi was at Gurgaon where my friend and me went to chill at DLF Club. The open spaces in Gurgaon, the sheer width of the roads were mind boggling to a Mumbaikar who finds joys in finding a place to stand ‘properly’ in his/her beloved local trains or finds the traffic ‘moving’ in a narrow dug up gully. The weather in Delhi was just about 8 degrees celcius. And to tell you the truth, that weather can do wonders to any human soul. Automatically, you stop feeling tired and feel like walking. A hot cup of coffee becomes 10 times more delightful as your hands seek its warmth more than your mouth seeks the taste. You feel like staying out for the longest time (only that we were, as I was reminded, in Delhi). The DLF Club had an open air amphitheater where a band was performing khwaja mere khwaja live. Can you imagine how it must’ve felt? Magical. I was rooted to the spot. And moved only when my stomach gave a lurch out of hunger.
Another obviously brilliant thing about Delhi is it’s metro. It’s a true blue system in itself, and much more cleaner, leaner than Mumbai’s. One can argue that Delhi is planned to a certain extent and Mumbai just grew like a cancerous tumor but still. My favourite pass time in metro was to observe the much discussed Delhi winter clothing. Honestly, Delhiites, even the most common man there has a tad bit more fashion sense than us Mumbaikars. Every shop I went to, the prints, the materials and the innovations were worthy of admiration. I was starting to enjoy this :)
But my biggest delight yet came from a visit to Delhi Haat. A congregation of art and handicrafts from different states, this place was simply mesmerizing. There were colours, mirrors, embroidery, curious, brass, dupattas, art everywhere. It was the moment when I felt I should’ve had unlimited money. And a huge house to get this all :).
Post Delhi Haat, the next most delightful experience was having a brunch at American Diners at IHC (Indian Habitat Centre). The IHC is a centerpoint of most art/literature/political and cultural fabric of Delhi. The energy of the place was vibrant. As the sun shone above and the cold breeze blew below, we tucked into pancakes with maple syrup, waffles and burgers for our heavy brunch. Visited some photography and painting exhibitions in the center and came back thoroughly inspired. It was truly the Delhi no one spoke about that often. Every now and then I was tempted to stay back. The weather made it difficult to leave. But then, I had a humble, no-expectation city called Mumbai to go back to. And I bid adios to Delhi and my lovely lovely friends who made these memories even more richer :)