A tribute to Delhi's 100 years-indulgent ramblings

a poem by Nishu Mathur, India

(With due apologies to Rabindranath Tagore)

“Where the head is held high
And the mind is without fear...”

Oops! Hold it, go no further my dear,
If you walk chin up and head so high,
You might as well bid adieu, a sad goodbye
For down you’ll go into a gaping wide hole,
As Delhi Metro strives to meet its proud goal,
Of making commuting a breeze, if you please
Giving our Delhi a fresh new lease!

A cacophony of sounds and visual treats,
Is what you’ll find on Delhi streets.
Cows that moo, dogs that bark,
Chasing late cars after it’s dark.
The ‘stay awake’ call of the night guard
Inspired by his muse or some ancient bard
As he blows a whistle into the midnight air,
And wakes you up with a sudden scare.
Scooters on the left, rickshaws on the right
Road rage that vents into ‘Radio Mirchi’ fights
DTC buses that never ever stop,
With Bollywood aspirants dancing on the top.
A bull that squats in the middle of the road,
Eyeing a camel that carries its load.
An elephant, sometimes a snake charmer too,
Delhi is a tapestry of amazing hues.

The walls and streets of old Delhi sing,
The legacy of heritage, proud Indian kings.
 Lal Quila, grand and majestic it stands,
Enthralling visitors from foreign lands,
Spinning stories of a historical world,
As the proud tiranga gently unfurls.

Chandni Chowk with its narrow lanes,
Adorned with shops and betel stains.
A taste of the old, a touch of the new,
Haldiram's, Mcdonald's all in a queue.
It's a quaint wonderland for weddings to be,
From exquisite saris to ethnic jewelry.
Midst ancient homes that line the streets
Reverberating with the music of happy feet,
Generations have come, generations have gone,
Old Delhi, still Delhi yet marching on
Amazing in splendour and quiet grace,
Delhi is not Delhi, without Connaught Place.
Like a carousel, a joy ride, a shopper’s delight
A scene out of a picture all painted in white.
Go window shopping or on a shopping spree
Great deals enamor, get something free.
From shoes to jackets, carpets to toys
Round you’ll go with shopaholic joy.
With it's many flavors, it's a foodie’s paradise.
Indulge in dosas, samosas...or burgers and fries.
All time favourote Wenger’s lemon tarts
Will delight the palate and warm the heart.

Right across, lies Janpath, at a stone’s throw away
With it's hustle and bustle, it'll make your day!
A wild riot of colors greets the eye,
Vendors crying, “Come here and buy!”
Flowers, jewellery, books and more
Souvenirs and knick knacks, you’ll all adore.
Bargain a little and name your price
An ace up your sleeve, throw your dice.
There’s more to buy, more to see.
The list is endless you’ll soon.
Head to Karol Bagh or Lajpat Nagar
Continue shopping with renewed vigour.
Looking for labels and well known names?
Khan Market is the way to fame.
South Ex. is interesting, though quite a dare
Parking is hard, a true nightmare!
Now that you’ve shopped and had your fill,
You’ve eaten all the money and paid your bills
Enjoy the winter that Delhi brings,
The sun that warms, the birds that sing!
A family picnic at Nehru Park,
Sprawl in the garden till its dark,
A leisurely walk at India Gate
With Chanas, ice cream and your handsome date,
Bask in the glory of a sun kissed day.
Hoping time would stop, the moment would stay.
 Not daring to think of the dense fog,
That engulfs Delhi on and off,
That unnerves Air India and Jet Airways,
As drivers fumble on national highways.
Yet beautiful and mysterious Delhi looks,
Straight out of an old gothic book.
Delhi’s summers are notorious too
Hot winds blow, the infamous ‘loo’.
Scorching heat makes schools close
With torid power cuts, anger grows.
Monsoons bring a quick respite
Tempers cool with rain in sight.
And then it pours and pours and pours
Delhi screams, “Oh God no more!”.
Traffics halts, trains are late
Delhi is in a chaotic state
Roads are all in a flooded mess.
It’s lush and green nevertheless!
Rain still brings songs to hearts
And dancing in the rain is quite an art.
Fall sets in as monsoons fade,
Delhi unveils yet another shade
Still more to see and more to do
Go ahead and put on your walking shoes.
Walk into the past with Jantar Mantar
Or Rashtrapati Bhawan, a political wonder.
Breath taking, inspiring, a sight to behold
Behind every corner, there is a story to be told.
From Qutab Minar to Raj Ghat,
Discover India’s incredible past.

And what would Delhi be without us all,
Thin or fat, short and tall
Sikhs from Punjab with their warmth and grit
In sculpting Delhi, they have done their bit
Kashmiris from Kashmir, Gujratis from Gujrat
A mosaic of colors, of different parts
The simple south, the songs of the east
Delhi is the stage where the nation meets!

Nishu Mathur,


The Great Indian Mustache

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