Friday, May 01, 2015

A Different Delhi

As I took the turn towards my place, I finally took my phone out. It was a few minutes past 11. I saw that the main gate of the building was open. I thought it was unusual since the gate was usually locked before 11. Quite a few things have been unusual this evening, I thought.

I was out in Saket this evening. Experimenting with the bookmyshow mobile app, I had earlier in the day booked a movie ticket. I left home well on time for the show and for some reason I realised I had a feeling of uneasiness as soon as I stepped out of the house. It’s probably just because I haven’t left the house whole day, I thought. I had a little difficulty on finding myself an autoricksaw, but managed to get one and reached PVR Saket well before time. 
 
Source: http://www.geezmagazine.org/
A most unusual sight greeted me. There was a loud sound of someone speaking on the mike with instrumental music in the background. I wondered where it was coming from. There was no difficulty in spotting the source. The entire area in front of the multiplex was occupied for some kind of function. The decoration seemed nice but seeing something like this here surprised me. I didn’t bother finding out what exactly was happening, having realised it was some kind of religious function going on.

I showed the online booking on my phone at the cinema’s entrance. The QR code was scanned and I was allowed entry- My first entirely paper-less movie watching experience. I just wished to go far from the noise outside. Entering the cinema didn’t help. It wasn’t soundproofed. Thankfully, the auditorium seemed to be cancelling most of the noise outside, when I finally entered for the movie Margarita With a Straw. I had no clue what the film was about. I just remembered a college alumnus saying it is a must-see during a talk at a recent film festival I attended. (The film was good. Kalki’s acting is amazing. I have to read more about it online)

It was quarter to 11 by the time the film ended and I made my way to the exit. I was in two minds about what I wanted to have for food- the Maharaja Mac at McDonalds or a chicken hotdog from 24x7. Habit and proximity took me to McDonalds and I placed the takeaway order. At this time I got a call from my mother. On being informed about my present whereabouts, she was quick to worry, as usual. It’s late, go home soon, she said. I was a little irritated at hearing the same thing every time I was out. My order arrived and I went in search of an auto.

PVR Saket is one place where I have easily been able to get an auto even at 2 AM. With the huge number of late night movie-goers, there usually are plenty of autos to be found here. There wasn’t a single auto in sight, right now. I waited for a few moments before deciding to walk the few hundred metres to the nearest metro station, from where getting an auto would be easy.

The streetlights were on but the footpath was shadowed. A few cars parked on the side, most with their owners inside- some waiting for their food order from the nearby Punjabi food shop, one working on his laptop behind the wheel and a group of friends having beer. There weren’t many vehicles on the road, just a few passing by every few seconds. I wanted to check the time but didn’t have my wrist watch on. I didn’t want to take my phone out of the pocket. Clutching the McDonalds’ take away package in one hand, I kept walking. I knew it was close to 11, but the streets seemed deserted for this time. I felt unusual.

I was reminded of the days I had spent in Mumbai last year. Although I had loved my stay there, the last couple of days had been weird. My internship had ended, so I had nothing to do until catching the train home. There was no one in the city I knew, apart from the few colleagues at work. No friends. I had gone out and roamed around the city, checked a few things off from my to-do list, walked around unknown parts of the city that I had made my home for a little over a month. The feeling then had been unusual. I didn’t want to live in a place which was so close and welcoming, yet so distant and cold.

Right now the feeling I was having was something similar. Probably it was not the physical surroundings I was seeing which brought in this feeling. Probably it was all in my head. I have kept myself occupied with my film for so many weeks and there is frustration because the project isn’t working out the way I had imagined it, because it is taking much longer than expected, and because plans for its marketing are forming in my mind and are exciting me more even when I am no where close to completing it. Not to forget, there is the eternal unspoken pressure of deciding what I want to do next in life once college is over in a few days.

I crossed the road a little carelessly, realising the stupidity in the nick of time in the middle of the road. I got an auto who agreed to take me to my destination. On questioning about the unavailability of autos at this time at Saket, the auto driver mentioned there had been an auto and taxi strike in the city the whole day. As the guy started the engine, I was glad to move away from the noise from the function in front of PVR Saket.

For the first time in the 7 years of staying in Delhi, today's day was unusual. I felt I was in a foreign land, alienated. Physically, of course, it is the same place, but there is this unexplained feeling in my head. Probably it is the slowly striking realisation that the last month of college life is on, probably it is the fear of the unknown coming next, probably it is the excitement and anxiety of facing the real world beyond it.

As I opened the lock and entered the house, I knew I wanted to write something down immediately. Something about a new experience I just seemed to have. That of a new chapter of an old city. That of a different Delhi.

6 comments :

  1. I totally know that feelin wen somethin unusual happens first thing that comes to my mind is that I should blog abt it.. Great Post

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Ananya.. Looking forward to some unusual blog posts from you :)

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  2. I am glad you wrote it. I have been making continuous effort ever since I started to feel the same way. :D

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  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  4. Nice article , thank you for sharing the blog, well done.

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