Delhi, the capital of India, is truly a melting pot. Dilli, as it is fondly called, is indeed the heart of India . And like any other city , it has a great underbelly too . The characteristics of Delhi are one of its kind. First of all, it doesn’t boast of any climate of its own . And what it has, is beautifully extreme. Consider the range of temperatures: 42 degrees in June to 2 degrees in January . It doesn’t possess a culture of its own. Infact, it has pockets of various cultures. Take for example, Chittranjan [CR] park is rightly called the “ hub of Bengalis” or ‘mini Kolkata’ as it is fondly called. This gives Delhi a cosmopolitan touch.

But what Delhi has of its very own, is its underbelly: ‘Delhi Belly’ and we Delhites , just love to flaunt it . For starters, everyone here knows someone haughty . If you are a true dilliwallah, you have to know someone high-profile , be it the politicos or the “Pge-3” celebrities.. Whether it’s a cricket match at Kotla or a concert at Habitat Center or or any other happening event organized in the city , more than half of the crowd is present because they have hi-fi associates. . And the other half? Well, thay ARE the contacts themselves . Yes, there are some poor souls who wait in never-ending queues and get tickets for themselves . But that doesn’t mean that they are “powerless”. Take some time out and question them and they will give you names of a host of important people they “know”. And yes, I would like to use this space to thank my contacts because of whom I was able to watch Kumble take 10 wickets in an inning against Pakistan at Kotla. Although the mighty crowd around me was pretty boring but well who cares for high profile companions when Mr Kumble is eating ten Pakistanis single-handedly?

Another striking feature about Delhi is our festivals and our lavish weddings . We simply do it .. “in style” . By the way , ever heard of Swaziland ? Yeah , it’s a small African country and its GDP falls short of many of our weddings . Punjabis do spend big but even austere Bengalis cant resist the lure of the wild. So , you have a DJ , tones of relatives , heavily painted aunties [ Asian paints are proud of them by the way] , lots and lots of snacks , multi-cuisine buffets and well… overflowing tanks of booze. . Infact, if theres no fight in a wedding , people think something’s wrong with this one !

Another interesting fact is the word-pairing. So if you visit Delhi , you have to visit-shizit Red Fort – vort and India gate-shate , eat snacks-shnaks at Karol bagh-shagh , do shopping-vopping at Connaught Place , see movie-shovie at PVR and so on.. You get the point or infact point-shoint . Britishers discovered English.. we discovered how to pair their words ! This adds a humorous zing to our lingo !

No discussion can be complete without the soul of Delhi – The Metro. Before the metro, there existed a divide between old and New delhi areas . Now , you hop onto the metro at Patel Nagar in New Delhi , have a creamy coffee at CP and without the least effort visit the Red Fort in old Delhi . Talk about integration! Metro has given wings to old Delhi. It has also given wings to the birds..err, love birds of Delhi . No wonder, the term “Metro Couples” is becoming prominent nowadays. These couples begin their romance in the Metro , do their cootchie-cooing , have their arguments , breakups in Metro and start “hunting” again …. In our very ownMetro . But seriously, Delhi love birds have ample of space to spend their “own time” . Why have their eyes on the Metro?

But Delhi is a beautiful city in the at heart. A city which is well-known for its hospitality, , even its invaders . No wonder, it has been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times . The charming forts of Delhi are its soul, tucked away in timeless peace, serenity and beauty. You can spend your Sunday outings there . And to take care of your Saturdays, there’s CP and various flea markets. Delhi caters to the need of each and every resident. There is so much variety that it almost seems unbelievable to acquire so much in one go- It has rock concerts at Central park , classical genre at habitat centre , numerous fairs – book , trade and what not – of pragati maidan , picturesque environs of New Delhi and in the end , we Delhites. . People who love their city but somehow , don’t express their love. . They litter around, scratch their names on precious forts’ walls and in the end, say that Delhi isn’t a world-class city. If theres one miserable part of the Delhi belly , this is it – Hypocrisy .

But I still keep my optimism alive. Delhi belly is one hell of a belly. Its not ordinary and its unique. You can be anyone, from anywhere in the country and you’ll love Delhi. It aint a melting pot for nothing. In a building housing 5 families, one will be from UP , other one from Kolkata , then one from Bihar and so on . Hmm.. Ok that’s my building but there are so many at every nook and corner. . And that’s why its rightly said,

“ Dilli dil hai Hindustan ka” .

Mayank Sharma

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