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).
My writing has become worryingly dumbed down. Sentences have become alarmingly staccato-like and the content here on this blog 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.
My work is cut out for me though. 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. Let’s do this.
I like meeting new people and I’m always in search of kindred spirits. Kindred spirits are sadly far and few between so most times I settle 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 interesting people and good atmosphere or even an email thread with the right conditions, 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. It’s heady, intoxicating sometimes.
Delhi is a 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 it’s also a city which surprises you. And I love that.
One of my favourite memories of Delhi so far is at a little cafe in Paharganj. M hadn’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 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 to a kind stranger — you may not have known it but you made a very tired, homesick girl’s day that evening.