Monday, 30 April 2012

99% Delhi. Irshad. Shahajanbad

(Text and Photography by Pupps Roy)

"This cannot be cooked. It has to be prepared you see and it takes almost 2 hours". It refers here as Haleem. And beside the big Haleem pot there is also a huge handi of Biriyani. If you get down at Chauri Bazar Metro station and take a walk towards the Balli Marang Main Market through the crowded gully of Qasimjan street will find him at a historian landmark. Irshad from Shahjahanabad (now known as Old Delhi) sits right across the house of Mirza Ghalib with his food cart. He sells Buff Biriyani and Haleem. His clients are mostly local muslim from the neighborhood. His biriyani is almost sold out and its just 6pm. The meaty aroma filled my nose as he opened the lid to show me the Biriyani. Spicy, succulent meat pieces cooked over fine aromatic colorful rice. Looks rich and tastes great. It does not taste oily. Or did he use Ghee? "People wont spend much money here but they like my Biryani so its almost over now. A plate of Biriyani for 20 Rs and Haleem too is sold at the same price". He meekly stands and serves his customers back to back with a long grin. Its difficult to make a name in the walled city for Biryani where there is a Biriyani wala in every 50 metres. Biriyani is again a very sensitive subject. If you praise Dilli ki Biryani to anyone from Lucknow they will give you a funny look. While people from Hyderabad will consider Delhi Biriyani as Pullao. Irshad manages to thrive easily in midst of all these controversies. "No one complaints from anyone for Biriyani worth 20 Rs. I mostly know all the people who come to eat here and they keep coming back to me", Irshand proudly says that. Just then the Muezzin calls out for prayer. Irshad looks at the sky packed with electrical wires, closes the  Handi lids and enters the house next to his cart.

Irshad with his food Cart

flavour flavour and flavor

Crowded sky

Monday, 23 April 2012

Just Before Delhi Morning

The great Banyan tree in Lodi garden is probably starting to get ready to make its food through photosynthesis and that needs a bit of Sun which will be up in Delhi sky in next one hour. News Paper boys are squeaking in their cycles to pick up their daily stock near Moolchand flyover under the neon lights. No one comes to the Paratha Wala after 1am. But there's always a tea stall which disappers in the day. But his business is at peak now with many people around his stall asking for tea after tea and cigarrettes. His night clients are mostly cab drivers, Autowala, students, watchmen, policewala and sex workers both men and women.

The faint crickety sound of the unknown insects is surely attracting the frogs to mate. From frogs to dogs and to human, everyone loves early morning sex. Thousands of Delhiites are making out by now. The sex worker waiting at the Saidq Nagar crossing may be heading home now or taking a chance to cater her last client. The watchmen are sleepy and nonresponsive to the cars coming in and going out from the respective gates. The street dog is curling up and tiwtching his ears and making sure no outsiders are tresspassing in his area. Some nice soul has been generous to him by offering a tiny mattress. Thats his bed. He gets back to his bed again.

The quiet of the Delhi morning ensures such peace and tranquility everywhere with very few number of speeding cars on the road and almost no one seen on the road giving a soundless, desolate look. Except there is a huge queue at the CNG Gas station. Array of Autos, Santro cars and Taxis are waiting for their fill to start their day. The earlier the better. A little girl glances out of the car window. She cant hide the excitement to head on the highway with her parents after this fill. Happy Holidays!

The lights are on in some houses. Some are not saving electricity and some maybe getting ready for a walk or work. Too early for a morning walk now. But here's an old man out with his fat Alsatian. Surely he is out becuase he does not want his dog to create any nuisance in his house. And he wont pick up or clean up his dog dropping. Lucky he is in Delhi. Everyone loves Delhi and Delhi morning. And its the time. The birds started chirping now. Plethora of excitements in their voice and wings. Perfect timing. New lease of life begins with a brand new day. See something beyond the horizon. Faint light appears in the sky. The sky wears a pale white layer now just before the sun rise. Hail the Sun! Wake up Delhi, Good Morning!

Monday, 16 April 2012

99% Delhi: Ganesh Chauhan: Aligarh

He takes the Violet line Metro at 1.30pm everyday from Sarita Vihar for his work place except on Saturday. Thats his off day. He lounges the whole day in his home and roams around in and out of Sarita Vihar with his best friend "Bonda" and his best friend's girl friend. This jolly UPiite is now a hardcore Delhiite. Having spent his childhood in the small town of Aligarh he doesnt regret his movement to Delhi. "Small place, small minds, people interfering too much and their mindset is totally different than that of here. Even my father didnt want to remain in the small boundaries of Aligarh", says Ganesh. He adds to it "Everyone wanted to come to Delhi those days but now things are changing. We sold off everything and moved in to Delhi. I love Delhi. This is my home now. If anyone is ready to pay me 10000 rs for a month's salary in Aligarh I wouldnt even move there."

He is lifting huge weights and teaching a chap next to him the whole wieght lifting process. Ganesh Chauhan is a fitness trainer in a luxury gym based out in East of Kailash. He never thought in his weirdest dream that he would end up being a fitness trainer in a trendy Gym hailing from a place like Aligarh. "I love my work, family, my long sleep hours and my routined life in Delhi".  He works till 10pm everyday and then he takes the Metro back to his house from "Kailsh Colony" Metro station. "Delhi is so vast I wasnt able to explore whole of it in last 6 years". His looks above and his eyes smiled as he goes few years back. "Delhi seemed wonderful with Sanjana, the girl I fell in love with. I cannot forget those days when Bonda and I used to come from Sarita Vihar to Nehru place to pick her up from school and used to go back together and run errand here and there in Sarita Vihar just to be with her. Now she is not there in my life so I hang out with Bonda and his girlfriend". Ganesh stands up from the Bench Press chair. "She was from Bihar so my father did not agree. My father left his mind at Aligarh".

I met Hanumanji

I met Hanumanji at GK1 M block market in one of the Navratra days at a pre Ram Leela show. He was getting ready in the parking lot behind his small little Wagon R. He didnt have time for givinng an interview but He blessed me and this blog. Jai HanumanJi.

99% Delhi: Atish Patel: London Town

He goes through the entire menu in exactly five seconds and he knows what to order. "One cold cappuccino please?” This London born Gujrati man has been living in Delhi for little more than a year in the plush colony of GK1. Why Delhi? Why not other city? And why not London? He doesn’t take any time to answer. He thinks that Delhi is at par like an international city. "I am a city boy you know. I grew up in London all my life. I can't stay in rural Gujrat where my relatives are living now. My roots are in India. My job brought me here in Delhi and I was so excited." says in thick London accent. He is carrying a 550D cannon Camera where he captured a lot of Delhi.

Clad in H&M,Gap and inConverse  shoeshe believes in Street Culture. He loves graffiti, painting, street food and talking to locals. "I miss Vada Pao in Mumbai but you have other great street food in Delhi. I love North Indian Food, Delhi Kababs and other Moghul Foods but I really dislike south Indian food". This Londoner is now a Delhiite. He travels in Rickshaw, goes to old Delhi, hangs out in the gullies of Hauz Khas Village and also enjoys Kawalis in Nizammudin as well as the Jazz Festival in Nehru Park. "Down the line 10 years Delhi will be like New York, London or Paris but they can’t be like Delhi because there is nothing like Old Delhi there." In addition he says that he wants to go to Ghaziabad. He wants to see the real expansion of Delhi.

Having lived in GK1 for more than a year he hates to associate himself with the riches. He neither likes to dress up everyday which is very unlike of a Londoner. He can do it once a year maximum. He hates showing off. "I connect better with the Rickshawalas, locals sitting next to me in the cafe, People in the park, drivers, maids and lower class people. Middle class or upper class people bore me a lot, especially those class conscious people and there are many like that in Delhi like any other city.” But he does not prefer to stay in Delhi for long. He is here as long as his job keeps him here. "I have no post retirement plans in Delhi. It’s like a short passing period of my life. But no long term plans". Prior to Delhi he lived in Moscow for a short time. He loves good looking Russian girls like those typical upper class Delhi boys. Besides he loves the sense of humour of those Moscow girls which he thinks is missing amongst Delhi girls. Maybe he has not met the right kind of Dilliwali.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Dior Delhi

(Text by Pupps Roy and photo taken from Google Images)

I love Dior. I cant afford it in my shopping list. Rather I dont have much Dior except one purfume called "Higher" which was a gift and a satin Dior Bathrobe which was again a gift from an extremely rich friend. And yes I bought a Dior makeup brush from Singapore Duty free. Its not that I dont have money to buy it. But again that would be such an extremely reckless and thoughtsome idea for me to buy something which is really pricy. Therefore when I see a Dior knockoff I look at it more than hundred times and I buy it after examining the authenticity of that Dior. The closer the better. And you dont have to go to Bangkok or any China town to buy a good knock off. You get it all in Delhi. I love Delhi and I love Dior. Somewhere Delhi and Dior has a connection. They both are classic. Finally finding Dior in the walled city was not that difficult. Off Chandni Chawk, next to a broken, tattered old house more than 200 years was my stop. Sooty walls, Noisy fan and a poor muslim seamstress stiching leather bags day in and day out with Dior perfection. Dire Dior state. He wears a half smile and it speaks so much. I feel like writing "Hidden Chronicles Seamstress' Chamber" after observing the whole thing. The owner takes out a leather bag which can be carried in office as well as outdoor normally. Sort of a sling bag. Looks classy with a "D" dangling out. Everything was perfect. It even has an authenticity code stamped on the back of the label. WoW, these guys rock! I love you. It comes nearly for $25.  Its a deal and ofcourse its a steal. So I go for it. I m a Dior Diva now. I am well dressed, have good sense of fashion and well spoken so no one will doubt about the authenticity of the bag. Who cares? Afterall it looks so fucking smart. Delhi is not full of Dior experts. I wont be arrested by fashion Police. I also bought a knockoff Dior neckless from a fashion jewelery store in some Noida Mall. It looks very close to authentic. But its not a daily wear. The shopkeeper was honest. He said the color would go off quickly in daily use. It is a platinum piece. Atleast it looks like. I feel proud and my confidence level is sky high now. I also bought a Dior keychain. I use it for my office drawer. None of my office mates have Dior Key chain. It does not look cool at all but it looks so classy and elegant and very very close to real. Except the time when I pass by the crowded place like Cannaught Place on a crazy Sunday or walk by the narrow gullies of Hauz Khas Village and some Heroine addict stares at my purse and accessories thinking they are all real.....I walk past by them quickly before it all sets me up to get mugged.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Rain On Me CP oh CP!

The Capital falls. Roads caved in, trees uprooted by wind, Yamuna River is crying over lands massacring homes and colonies, Broken barrage, blah blah blah. Watch the news on TV and Newspaper and stick in your four post beds. Bunk your office and Smell the wet earth. Welcome to a rainy day, gets a little drastic and wild for a  change. Blame it to Global warming. Anyway Wet games are always interesting. Isn't it? All bollywood blockbusters have at least one or two songs in the "Barish"

I am loony or whatever. I am on my white billabong shorts, carrying a Janpath jhola and enjoying the walk on the grassy carpet of Palika Park barefooted and entering the heart of CP avoiding the debris and rubbles of Un-Common wealth Game. It’s nearly a horror show here but CP never loses its charm. Let’s see where the Georgian architecture evolves to! A facelift! Run amok with it. Raging Rain and reigning CP.

All shiny, happy people around. Limitation of life is sky high and it breaks in to us with Rain. A time to celebrate. Street kids are playing in the puddle splashing water at each other; Other two rich kids are watching them from the shed. I check my cell phone is safe in the plastic packet inside my pocket while the girl just passed by talking to her loved one without caring about her cell phone getting wet. Wet game again. We love it all. The mad homeless man is making his last drinks from his small quarter whiskey bottle. Someone is ushering the evening. I take a break for my "chai".

It’s raining relentlessly. Clock is ticking 10. All shops are closed. Some people are waiting beneath the sheds and still hoping that the rain would stop and they would walk away to their respective bus/auto stands or some may like to walk it all the way like me. Back in the service lane the dhaba is serving their last customers and two child labors are cleaning the utensils under the roadside tap abusing Delhi slangs happily to each other. Prostitutes have gone home with or without their customers. Not much traffic in the inner circle and the Parking lots are almost empty. Delhi Police Van is unmoved in the corner and the Policemen seem to be enjoying rain from the van. Two drunken men are bargaining with the auto driver in front of Keventers. They are shutting too. One happy couple is dangerously close to each other behind the pillar. I walk towards the cigarette kiosk around the corner of C block. I take a puff. Oh what a feeling! Cigarettes taste better with the weather I guess. Walking towards the PVR CP. here the party seems to have started. All lit up and many party people around. I could hear music stream as each one is opening the door of "Knight/Castle" to make an entry. How do people party on Mondays? Blame it to spoiled Delhi. Lonely homosexuals are waiting outside the clubs to gain entry by hook or crook at any cost. Two foreigners seem to have lost their ways and asking for direction while the Pan stalls outside Odeon are doing excellent business on the other side. The bikers are skeeing around ther road strutting their riding gears.

The squeaky, slippery Cannaught place looks prettier in the pouring Rain. I am in love with it. I turn around, store all the memory and head on. It starts raining heavily! Oh shit, not again....I spread my umbrella!

Watching You

Beneath the dark moon
Watches an eye
Witnessing mankind
As every seconds pass by

Catching their misdeeds
Warning them every day
Lest before they last pray
Their wishes wash away

Manhood initiated
As the life was born
There the love prevails
And tears were torn

But myth's sweeping wave
As years went by
Spared no-one to save
Ego left to die