Delhi Times

The beer-guzzling routine is settling in. The best thing about Delhi, I decided when i moved in the middle of last summer, was that a can and a bottle of KF, cost the same! Rs. 30.

It was then that I decided this city was beginning to charm me. With its tradition of the thheka. These liquor vedors are licensed. They shut shop on dry-days. And make a killing the night before.

Delhi also turned out to be more cosmopolitan than I had imagined. I live in a Punjabi-Sikh-refugee part of town. Which houses a surprisingly large number of Middle-Easterns (with the hooked noses, and gold watches and hijab-d women in Western clothes, and words with the sounds of schhh and ghh), Black people (not sure whether from the Caribbean or Africa), whites (in noodle-strapped summer dresses and khaki shorts), and Midnapore-Bengalis and Bangladesh-Bengalis, and Tamilians and Mizos and Assamese. And unbathed, straggly-haired hippies.

I find this melting pot business especially roaring in the low-rent markets, where you hand the rent in cash, there is a lease agreement, but how it works depends on what equation you strike with your landlord. The owner knows that it is the down-n-out hippie and the shoestring-budgeted jholawala journo who form the bulk of his market. If they pay the money, and keep music down, what cocaine or woman they entertain is not his headache.

The paisa-vasooli-ideology has made this mujahid Punjabi community cosmopolitan. Comfortable with the sight of whites, blues, blacks and yellows, and their quaint ways of being.

For a city with as flashy and golddigging as some of its faces, there are really cheaps ways of living and having fun, that are hidden in its nooks and corners. Some of which I regular, some I am still hunting for. For instance, beef curry and Kerala parathas at the Mallu Dhaba at INA Market. Parathas at the foot of the Ashram Flyover. Daroo at 4S in Defence Colony Market, which, of course, is quite popular already in low-budget circles already.Nothing Authentic, a Bhangra-pub in New Friends Colony, which in its Happy Hours, has 1+2, 2+3, 3+4 deal, takes you easily on the high road, without pinching your pocket much.

So now, that I have guzzled enough to feel pinched in the middle of the week, I solemnly pledge abstinence till maybe... Friday Night...

And talking of cheap living, a summer-welcming trip to Sarojini is strongly recommended. I bought cute(especially, if one believes in the summer-minimal school of thought) stuff for thirty five bucks each. Very hip.


Anand said…
you've discovered 4s already? and your description of home neighbourhood sounds like lajpat nagar near the railway tracks? well, this particular north-indian-mard-in -exile is looking forward to making your acquaintance upon return in june as you sound like you haunt the same places as i do! btw, i translated the ghazal into english - very badly, but it's done.

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