Notes from Delhi: Etcetera, Etcetera

It’s 4.30 am. I’ve just finished four loads of laundry and downed a particularly potent cup of lemon tea (3 tea bags in one cup).

I’m a little appalled at how dumbed down my writing has become. Sentences have become alarmingly staccato like and the content vacillates between touristy Delhi posts or ‘OMG. I miss home’ posts. So instead of griping about lost mojo,  I’ve forced myself to sit down, write whatever pops up into my head and try and get into the groove once again (I can’t believe I just used that phrase). I can’t promise that everything is going to make sense but at least I can get some of the thoughts festering in my head out there.

Also, the left side of my keyboard stopped working a few weeks back and I’m left to the mercies of the onscreen keyboard because I’ve been too chicken to battle the Hindi speaking computer guys at Nehru Place and too afraid of being ripped off.

My work is cut out for me.

*

I believe that everyone has a story to tell.

Some stories are meant to be shared over drinks and raucous laughter. Some are let slip hesitantly, over a rare, reckless moment of confidentiality, often regretted later. Others speak for themselves and remain etched on faces, on hands even.

Some stories remain blissful secrets – replayed in your head, a slow smile spreading over your face as you’re about to turn in for the night.  Others, cushioned in pain and denial and locked in the darkest corner of your mind, never to be let out.

These stories have varying names – scars, baggage, anecdotes, issues, memories, snapshots.

Call it what you will, but everyone has a story to tell.

*

I love meeting new people. It’s not a popularity thing (I’m strangely anti social at times). I’m just constantly in search of kindred spirits. Kindred spirits are sadly far and few between so instead I now look for conversation chemistry – because there are conversations and then there are conversations.

While kindred spirits are in short supply, conversation chemistry can occur in the most unexpected places. Throw in a few interesting people and good atmosphere or even an email thread and decent spelling and the results are positively electric. Good chemistry is completely independent of the content and context of the conversation. The secret is in the people who partake in it and sometimes the most unexpected of people have the most to offer. I may not always be the most vocal in discussions but I love basking in the atmosphere of great conversation. Honestly, it’s positively intoxicating.

*

Delhi is an exceedingly complex city. It’s easy to lose faith in a city like this. There are times it welcomes you and times, when it repels. This city leaves its mark on you – whether good or bad, is entirely dependent on your survival mechanism. But at the same time, it’s a city which constantly surprises you. And I love that.

One of my favourite memories of Delhi so far is at a little cafe in Paharganj. M  hdn’t been to Paharganj, so I took her there. It was Ramazan and it was time to break fast. The owner of the cafe ushered us to a table. He asked if either of us were fasting (rohza, it’s called in Hindi) and upon hearing that I was fasting, insisted that we sit with him and break fast. He waved aside my protests firmly and I was pushed into an Ifthar banquet of sorts. Picture three tables pushed together and white bowls piled high with apples, grapes, pineapple, dates and oranges. Plates of pakoras and samosas, bottles of juice and even more  plates filled with exotic middle Eastern dishes I’d never seen before dotted the table.

The thing is, during Ramazan, I used to break fast with a cheese sandwich, dates and water. I don’t make a fuss about what I eat – I’m far too tired by the time the sun sets and I just grab some dinner later on. So when this stranger sat me down at his table and fed me this veritable fest I was so grateful I could weep.

Thank you sir, you may not have known it but you made a very tired, homesick girl’s day that evening.

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15 thoughts on “Notes from Delhi: Etcetera, Etcetera

  1. Feeling homesick and unable to fit in, in a new place of residence are all good reasons for writer’s block. Don’t worry so much about it.

    And writing continuously for assignments might put you off writing on your own time – I know it does for me. Nothing but angst leads me to blog these days (although I go through a lot of other interesting stuff that I often THINK of blogging about). Ppl who read my blog could be forgiven for thinking I am some sort of angsty dramaqueen which I am not 😀

    That said, I am so glad to see that your spark of creativity and individuality still flames strong. I had begun to worry for a while there that your degree course might be inculcating the writing of trite formulaic writing in you which would be a shame. You are one of the most individualistic writers in our blogging sphere here. And as this post shows – you still have it in you 🙂

  2. Egad at the keyboard. 😯 For a while, the shift key on my lap got a bit stuck after a cleanup… that was a nightmare. I can’t imagine how you manage with just half the keys. 😐

    Agree with Tules. Your writing is so unique and identifiable. And beautiful. Hope you get to write more just for the fun of it. 🙂

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