Public parks have always doubled up as private spaces for young romantic couples who, due to various reasons, cannot seek the joys of physical intimacy in any other place. These gardens are now acquiring individual flavours, too.
The rugged landscape of Buddha Jayanti Park is for the adventurous and daring. Lodhi Garden, thanks to its numerous walkers, suits those who prefer safety in crowd. Read more
On the 25th of February, 2009, as I sit musing amid the ruins of Delhi’s Feroze Shah Kotla, while the bare-footed Sufis are chanting ayaats to shoo off the djinns, the idea of writing the decline and fall of this city is stirring in my mind.
It’s tempting. Read more
Being Indian in the Indian capital
He is half Delhiwalla but the 18-year-old Mr Peerzada Shah Fahad avoids the label. He may have two homes but he says he belongs to only one.
Mr Fahad’s handicraft trader father has a six-room house in Srinagar but each winter they migrate to this four-room rented apartment in Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar, home to Kashmiris, Afghans amongst others. Here Mr Fahad has made many ‘Indian’ friends. Here his older brother is a call centre executive in Gurgaon. But Mr Fahad doesn’t think he is an Indian, much less a Delhiwalla, thank you very much. Read more
On the Sunday that preceded Republic Day, there were no booksellers in Daryajanj’s weekly book bazaar.
“It’s closed for security reasons,” a paanwalla told me. I stood on the empty pavement and laughed. Trains were still chugging in Old Delhi station, chaatwallas were still frying tikkis in Chandni Chowk but this booklovers’ den was a security threat. Read more
Up the alley; down the street. I’m in her quest. Razia Sultan was the first woman Muslim ruler in my part of the world. I always imagined that her tomb was in the neighboring state of Haryana. “Nahi janab, her kabra is near Turkman,” a bearded man corrects me at a chaikhana in Gali Jaaman Walli. Razia Sultan buried in Delhi! Thrilling. I take the directions and walk on. Read more
Islam is in the news for all the wrong reasons. I know quite a few non-Muslims who are liberal, reasonable and have Muslim friends. But sometimes even they have their moments of doubt about Indian Muslims. How patriotic are they? Do they really have sympathies for Islamic terrorists? Do they really clap for Pakistan in the ODIs? What do they think about Kashmir? Why are they so backward? And why are their women exiled behind the burqas? To find out the answers to these questions, I went to Gaffar Manzil, a Muslim ghetto in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar, knocked at a door and get set talking to Falak Khan, a young wife with two children. Read more
They came in one by one. These silent Delhi men. From morning to midnight. Some were tall with fierce eyes. Some were short. Some were fat. Others looked famished with sunken cheeks. They all had one thing in mind.
Some did it while standing. Others squatted. Some had leather bags carefully balanced in their hands. Some had cars which they parked on the side before coming to me. Read more
Kareena, my kudi, my karisma, my chameli. She was plain Geet in Jab We Met, Pooh in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham but in my Dilli she was just Bebo.
Aaj first time itne near se dekha. Film shoot was on. Spotted on the front seat of a red car at Connaught Place’s F-Block, opposite Qba, she looked just as she looks on screen – sexy. Read more
How is it like to live in Ballimaran, an Old Delhi neighbourhood?
The dominantly Muslim mohalla boasts winding alleys, decaying havelis, crumbling balustrades, half-lit carom-board clubs, and chatty chai stalls. It is most famous for being the final address of Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib. More recently, film star Aishwarya Rai shook her buttocks to the chartbuster Kajra re song whose lyrics included the word BALLIMARAN. Read more
These are the jottings of my old diary. I wrote it on August, 2007. This morning I read it again and thought of sharing with you:
The hill was alive with the sound of the gravedigger’s shovel. I was looking for a grave. In the next hill perhaps? It was dug yesterday. For Qurratulain Hyder. She was an Urdu writer who died on August 21, following a prolonged lung ailment, in a hospital in Noida, a Delhi suburb. I have never read Ms. Hyder. Yet I came here in Jamia Nagar’s Muslim graveyard to express my sadness at her passing away. Read more