Monday, October 09, 2006


I like Delhi when it's raining. I love it in the autumn. I like it on foggy winter mornings. I dislike it when it leans on the horn a second after the light turns green. I loathe it when it labels me 'Madrasi' and takes me for granted. I like its DTC buses - for me they'll always mean U-specials and fun and non-flirty conductors. I love the green trees on both sides of the Delhi roads. I love Lutyen's Delhi. I like cruising through the streets at midnight, when the trees are lit by soft yellow sodium lamps. I pity Delhi when it asks me for alms at traffic lights, with a baby in its arms. I am in awe of the way it draws my eyes upwards everytime I pass South Block; the yellow and rust coloured stone always makes me feel proud of my country, how ironic.

I love the Delhi Metro. I love bus route no. 610. I like the little green autos. I love and hate travelling in Delhi autos in the winter - the chilly air will refresh you and freeze you to the bone at the same time. I loathe Delhi in the summer - how it tires you the moment you step out of the house, how it coats your hair with dust and sweat. But I love the taste of cold water after a day of travelling in the Delhi heat. Delhi taught me to value AC's and coolers. Delhi taught me how to travel by bus. In Delhi, I've travelled by car, by bike, by bus, by the Metro, by autos (both ordinary and the communal three-rupee ones). Delhi gave me every bit of whatever independence I have.

I love the AIIMS flyover. I love Dilli Haat. I like INA Market - Ivide Nursammaru Alayunnu, hehe. I love how you can always hear a bit of Malayalam if you listen hard enough, no matter which market you go to. I love the soft yellow glow of the lamps at vegetable markets. I love Sarojini Nagar, Lajpat Nagar, Janpath - I love all the street markets. I love the kurtas and the silver jewellery and the bargaining. Oh wait, not the bargaining.

I generally dislike North Delhi, but I love the University Campus. I love its greenery. I know I'm going to miss it in the years to come, no matter how much I crib about it. I wish I could have enjoyed it more. I love the bhel-puri-wallah at Patel Chest. Hell, I like all the street food I've ever eaten in Delhi. I love the momos at Dilli Haat. I also plan to eat beef from Kottaram restaurant in INA market at least once before I leave.

I loathe Delhi temples - both the ones I've been to, I mean. I like going up and down flyovers. I like Chanakya Cinema. I love Deer Park - its trees and its muted light and its geriatrics and its ruins.

[This post will keep getting updated as I think of more things I love/hate/dislike/loathe.]
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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Blue Planet

This was it. Armageddon. She looked up at the mile-high wall of water as it approached. It was tremendously awe-inspiring, a solid block of water lifted up by the latest earthquake. She had told herself that she would not be afraid on this last little adventure, but she couldn't help the thrill of fear that shot through her body. The little hillock she stood on would soon be underwater. Once upon a time, it had been one of the highest peaks on the planet.

Only a few minutes left now for the water to hit her. She looked at the calm sea surrounding her on all sides. It lapped at her feet gently. A tame beast, except for the mountain of water approaching her rapidly. She could hear it now, its greedy roar.

"I'm the last person left on earth," she told herself. It was a bit of a thrill. "The last representative of a miserable race that defeated itself by defeating a planet."

Less than five hundred metres now. She realized that it was slightly concave, not the solid vertical wall it had seemed from far away. The upper edge was white-tipped. The bottom was almost green. She felt she could taste the spray on her tongue if she wanted to. The movement of the water as it got swept up into the wall was almost hypnotic.

Was it becoming faster as it came nearer? Only a minute or two now. She could barely see the top edge. The bottom was so thick, so green, so deep. And so near. Had she left it too late?

She clenched the remote in her left hand. She waited till the wave was almost upon her. It drenched her through her wetsuit. The spray landed salty on her tongue. The sun was blocked out. The world was nothing but the blue-green darkness surrounding her. She pushed down the button, even as a sudden stab of illogical doubt went through her. What if it didn't work?

The next minute, she was in her Ship. Wet through and through, teeth chattering, her suit clinging to her. But alive.

A burst of relieved cheering made her grin. All around her, the crew clapped and shouted. She gave them a theatrical little wave as she stepped out of the Beaming Portal. Scotty, her second-in-command, came forward. "Now may we leave, Captain?" he asked with an effort at his usual dryness, though he couldn't contain his relieved grin either.

"Hell, yeah! Heave-ho for Mother Mars!" she yelled, earning a roar of approval from the crew. Then they all turned as one for a last look at the planet they were leaving behind. It spun uselessly on its axis, completely blue now, even as its last inhabitants sped away.
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