One morning, tired of wandering in tombs, forts, bookshops, malls, I went to a college campus instead. Not just to any college. St Stephen’s, in north Delhi, is a glass bubble fantasy. It’s the south Delhi of Delhi University. Snobbish.
Here’s no noise, no dust. Just trees, hedged pathways, redbrick structures and English-speaking kids, rumored to be some of the country’s brightest. (Wikipedia has a list of ‘distinguished’ Stephanians.) Read more
You will perhaps never invite me to visit your family. For I am one of the 4,500 sex workers who live and work at Garstin Bastion Road, the city’s red-light area. No pity, please. I have no objection to selling my body for the sake of roti. Besides, I have become used to this neighbourhood. My three boys were born here. The best friendships of my life were made here. My six co-workers live together like sisters. This kotha is my home. Read more
A few hours after Bombay came under terrorist attack in December, 2008, a 70-year-old Pakistani artist, sitting thousands of nautical miles away in Karachi, started e-mailing friends in Delhi. She had plans to visit the Indian capital but the Bombay outrage made her pause.
Would it be wise for a Pakistani to travel to India in these tense times? She feared what if somebody spat on her face? Finally, after “considering all options” she landed in Delhi just before the Republic Day. Read more
However, the author of Train to Pakistan hardly registered my presence. Only once, when I refused an offer of whiskey, did he turn to ‘check me out’. Read more
Evening. Khan Market. With books. Without a lover.
Inside the Bahrisons Booksellers. I was here 24 hours ago and had got Steve McCurry’s Portraits for Rs 950. Now the itching to get a new book has started. But no new stock here. Read more
In a commercial district like Nehru Place where people flaunt books like Microsoft Windows for Dummies, I know a chain-smoking, chai-guzzling guy who recites James Joyce. Read more
I love Delhi. Imagine my distress when I met Craig and Tracy, my American friends who have been living in the Capital for two years, and now in the process of relocating to London. Craig said he is ecstatic at the thought of getting rid of Delhi. Read more
My address has changed. I’m now the Shah of the Jahan, the king of the world. I’ve moved from the wrong side of the Yamuna to the right side. From Lower East Side to the heart of upper crust Delhi. Such a long journey: from Anand Vihar to Defence Colony. Read more