Monday, April 28, 2014

Rewriting Delhi - Part I

Around December last year, I began assisting Asif Khan Dehlvi in his endeavour named Delhi Karavan, which is a concept traversing through time and space to serve the best of Delhi in front of those who are in love with the city, and are eager to explore it. In my journey with Delhi Karavan, I realized the truth in the oft quoted line - To have travelled is to have arrived. I am more of a ghostly presence there, seldom manifesting in actual events, but lurking somewhere behind the online face of it. The freedom which Asif grants me to explore my city, my way, is what makes even this virtual journey so liberating, and in keeping with the same spirit, I started drafting for Delhi Karavan mini Facebook columns called 'Rewriting Delhi' sometime back. These columns were about how I saw my city, and what is it that fascinated me about it. In the form of stale quintets, I decided to share these columns with you as well, also to know what is it about this rich, ravaged, reconstructed city that you happen to admire.

Here is the first quintet, the first five posts written under #RewritingDelhi 


"Meri muhabbat pe shaq na kar ae sheher mere
Par teri dewaaron par laparwaah si kabhi sachchai bhi dikh jaati hai"

Armed with a new phone in hand, with awesome camera specification, I was eager to click the best visuals from my city - and this is the first that caught my eye in a fast food outlet in Connaught Place. It amused me, yes, but also shook up some funny memories of misogynistic encounters I have had while travelling through the deemed safest areas of Delhi. I love this place I live in, and this is where I want to die - but our city has to go a long way in becoming a safer haven for women. Or so I think.

Some people, I reckon, need to read the writing on the wall.

Spotted inside McDonald's, somewhere in CP


"Panno mein uljhe chehron ko dekha hai kya kabhi?
Tujhmein hi ae sheher yeh apna khwaab sajaate hain"

This lane has a distinctive importance of its own - if you ask me, then more so. This is where the dreams of many an aspirants for the highest jobs in India come to seek salvation. Not just that, this is where an entirely different kind of crowd scurries in as well - and that is the foodie crowd. If you are a chaat-deewaana, it can't be that you have not heard of the Shri Prabhu Chaat Bhandaar in Delhi. Just in case you have not, you must rush here to see the confluence of some serious aspirations with some tangy flavours.

Right beside Dholpur House, the destination for many aspirations


The excitement of devouring these lovely, fried pieces of potato was such that I could not avoid getting the click blurred. But then, that is what #DelhiChaat does to you. Invariably, in all corners of the city, around the next bend, at short distances from each other, you will find jazzy chaat stalls inviting you with all their might to taste the sweet and tangy flavours they have to offer. Golgappas, Tikki, Lachchha Tokri and a spread of some other delectable quick-foods is irresistible. For me, however, these fried potatoes - called Aaloo Chaat - work best. Is it the same for you too?

This is proper Delhi fast food, which no number of Americanised joints can push out. And thats what I will keep believing.

Aloo Chat!


“Kya manzil ki tak mein zindagi basar karoon
Ya is safar ko hi apni manzil maan loon?"

Have you ever felt like taking a taxi to nowhere, to travel for the sheer pleasure of travelling? This picture, by my dear friend, Aaqib Raza Khan gives me dreams, it makes me want to become an explorer. A taxi to nowhere could also be a taxi to everywhere, or so I think.

I don't see many taxis around in the city, except now for those fancy call-cabs, each an advertisement hoarding in itself. But then, this is also how my city is changing, evolving, becoming new.

Aaqib Raza Khan's lens clicks these beauties!


"Ae sheher tu razdaar bhi, dildaar bhi, fankaar bhi
Jo panaah de, na sawaal kare, woh humsafar, woh yaar bhi"

You did not think this city opens its arms only for you, is it? When you head out to capture interesting moments, you find them being played out between creatures of all colours and sizes. Like here. These were spotted lurking on top of a shed in some corner of Dargah Nizamuddin Auliya, caught deftly by the all observing camera of Aaqib.

Are they growling, or romancing? That is where my thoughts end, still wondering.

Inside Dargah Nizamuddin Aulia, again clicked by Aaqib
PS - If you liked what you got to read here, more will come your way, soon!
Meanwhile, why don't you follow @DelhiKaravan on Twitter, or hop onto their Facebook page by clicking here.


  1. Loved the shayari and how you looked at Delhi. I have never looked at Delhi this way. It may be because I haven't lived there.

  2. A good start to my day for sure. A fun read :)

    1. Thenks ladki! I hope this series continues on my blog :)

  3. कुछ अंदाज-ए- बयां बदले हैं, कुछ शौक कुछ रवायत|
    दिल्ली तो यूँ ही थी,कुछ बदली है नजर - ए- इनायत||

    तुक शायद ठीक न बैठी हो, मगर यह ब्लॉग पोस्ट पढ़कर अच्छा लगा|

    1. Tuk ekdum badhiya baithi - yeh share karne ke liye aapka bahut shukriya!