Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Memoirs of Diversity of a Chilly Capital

To my choti buaji, for inspiring me to express...

Delhi - people say it is the city of people with heart – “Dilli dil walon ki”. In my observation, after spending almost more than two decades in this city, Delhi is the city of changes and adaptation. Delhi keeps changing. Although Delhiites adapt all the changes easily nevertheless media shows their choices with their highlighted reasons only. Almost all the changes are predefined which help the people of the Capital to be prepared with upcoming changes, for example: Change in the ruling party, changes in constant Indian festivals (which lasts for 365 days on Delhi’s calendar with a new occasion everyday and as the city of the mix cultures, Delhi enjoys all the festive seasons), Change in legislative Sessions (Budget, Monsoon and Winter Sessions), Events such as: Commonwealth, India Fashion Week, Delhi Marathons, Cricket Matches, events at Pragati Maidan from Trade Fair to Textile Fair, Republic day Parade to Gay Parade,a number of Art and Culture Activities in Delhi Haat, IHC, Mandi House and CP, Delhi’s big fat Weddings and their Barat and what not. But here is one change which Delhi welcomes forever and always stands in good spirit for it - “the seasonal change.”

Morning Freeze
Change in the climate of the city is so obvious and beautiful that Delhi not only embraces every season with love but also celebrates all the flavours with pride. From springs to burning summers and then pre -monsoon showers, rains to Dengue, Chikungunya and Malaria and then comes autumn. After that begins the season of wedding and November’s pink winter which gradually changes to sheer white winters in December and January. 


In  November, cool breeze and winter fragrance on the roads, in the mornings & nights, start giving a shiver in the spine and warm jackets and woolen shawls start creating their spaces in our wardrobes. Our mothers start sending woolens to the drycleaners meanwhile blankets and quilts are to be seen hanging on Terrace parapets for sunny rays to take away that naphthalene balls’ smell that stays in our nostrils for days. I still remember when in school, we were supposed to wear pullover because of those circulars, the only thing which kept me sneezing was not that morning freeze but the naphthalene smell from my woolens.   
People I have known for years wait for Giani to release Gaajar Ka Halwa every season in November and so do I. While arranging possibilities to visit Trade Fair we ensure we’ll grab almost everything best and new this year from the fair, related to food, household stuff, wall hangings or handlooms.

In the same month, with Devuthani Ekaadshi the season of wedding starts and almost every banquet, Farm House, Dharmshala, School & colony grounds and even the Gali next door is also ready with shamiyaana for small weddings, engagements, ladies sangeet and DJ Parties. Many new love-stories or to be precise short love stories start and end in these 2-3 days family functions. More or less every 3rd fufaji in these weddings turns off for any such issues related to their pride and in some cases, Jija jis, maama jis, bade tauji or groom’s father or anyone with such a status serves the purpose to add a spice in Indian Marriages while drinking coffee on the sofa in the late night Phere-ceremonies.

Steadily, we move to December. When the planet takes pledges for World’s Aids Day, we are still busy in buying expensive stuff for our marriage functions. Somehow, thinking of December few things strike in my mind - Pink & Red Color , Christmas, Candy floss, Sweet Corns, Songs from Kal ho na ho, Wedding, Angithi, Snow (though I haven’t seen it myself), fog, lights, Carols, wreathe, Mungfali (Peanut) ki Gajjak, shopping for new woolen stuff and Oranges while enjoying winter’s warm sunny rays. We can buy everything from new colorful socks to boots and overcoats from chocolate cakes to coconut cookies from M Block GK Market to Janpath and Sarojini Nagar everything from anywhere, we do not even spare road side popcorn seller by waving 10 Rupees Note from cars’ windows. New movie releases are generally talk-of-the-town as big budget films with exclusive star-cast try to create their marks at the end. Boiled eggs, omelets, Aallo ke Paranthe, Garma-Garam Chai and Coffee compliments our breakfast and Gaajar Mattar, Aaloo-methi, Panner ki Sabzi, Egg curry, chicken and mutton share their own spaces in the menu during lunch and dinner.

Mid December is however exclusive for Romance, Mid -Term Exams, Christmas Day rehearsals in Convent Schools and our darling “Mungfalis (Peanuts)”. If anywhere in DMRC they are segmenting the report of garbage elements, charts related to peanut flakes should increase in this  month. In schools, girls usually fold their skirts twice to decrease the skirts’ length above their knees and boys generally wait for breaks, sports periods for additional sports activities in the sunny grounds where girls too join them to watch their extra-curricular talents. At homes, we enjoy our quilts and television where we do not intend to switch except TV channels or ourselves for uncontrollable natural calls. However, Mungfali comes here too in the form of Gajjak, Roasted or salted.  And by this time our lips and cheeks start complaining the temperature for the need of Lip balms and cold creams.

Late December, increases the fog and chill in the atmosphere. News related to road accidents increases in the newspapers. I remember, we often use to crack jokes in the school bus for non-existence of our school building because of fog and now we suffer late comings in offices which is the result of heavy fog and traffic Jams that is quite a foggy revenge. 
By the Christmas, Churches in Delhi look beautiful with light, decorations and Christmas Carols. Group of friends, office staff, event Management companies and small DJs (like Rinku music party for Dance party, Mata-di-Bhetein and Ladies Sangeet) start arranging for New Year’s Celebrations. The variety of theme parties and new years’ resolution of celebrities spreads everywhere on entertainment channels and newspapers whereas liquor shops celebrate their maximum profits in these days.
Lohri in Delhi

Republic Day Parade @ Rajpath

 With one night celebration of New Year, we keep greeting every one on SMS’ and while shaking hands with everyone for first-two weeks of January, and then Delhi gets busy with another celebration on the tune of "sundar-mundariyun" on Lohdi. I forgot to add, wedding season does not end even in January. It lasts till early March. However, the art of celebration in Delhi is always on the peak. In another 13 days Delhi will again rejoice with republic day celebrations. Rajpath smiles in pride and every Indian salutes Indian constitution and our defense forces even after number of speculations through-out the year on the system. Delhi again decorates like a newly-wed-bride for three days however, not that every Delhiite exclusively enjoys all these small and big expressions, events and celebrations but it is something which is now part of Delhi’s Culture. We, as Delhiites do not celebrate all these occasions as a pride of Delhi yet it is an integral part of ethnicity that we stagnantly ignore or enjoy. Nevertheless Delhi is nothing without this diversity.

Delhi on the eve of National Days
Special Thanks to My dearest Pal Pooja M Khushaldas for her time for reading the final draft of the blog and to my Delhi for keeping me lively just as she is...


  1. THIS REALLY DEPICTS THE TRUE LIFE OF Dilli AND Dilli KE dilwalo ki. One can get a feeling that somewhere portions of this article resembles 2 their actual life.. Well Done Mahima.. Undoubtedly u r a gud writer..

  2. too good Mahima. i really liked this article.
    Keep writing. :)

  3. hats off too you ... yaar kash bhagwan thodi si writing skill mujhe de dete so dat i can present you "THE PRESENT" demanded by u ... anyways its too nyc and u forget to mention there is also an occasion when romance on the peak in mid of december bt i remember tat...

  4. well.. in my opinion it has nothing new or extraordinary atleast for a delhite... But I must commend you for your knowledge & effort in linking every line of yours from the smallest to the largest of the possibilities in the city... I liked the way you included Gay Parade, Aids Day etc kind of events in your write-up, people generally tend to be unaware of such things amidst the life of this city... hats-off for that... Nd ya,your writing do take us on a brief trip through the whole season that is really commendable...

  5. thts a lovely picture you have painted with ur wrds..... love it ...... : )
    waiting 4 the next master piece to come....