Tuesday, December 29, 2009
A New Delhi...
Image courtesy : laszlo-photo on Flickr, check usage terms before using the image.
Born in Delhi I am a proud pro-Delhi turk. And it automatically translates into the fact that the person in question loves urban enthusiasm. This is essentially the reason why I hear so many say, "...I wouldn't mind appreciating the beauty and exclusivity of many small towns, but when it comes to live in metropolis like Delhi or Mumbai, it is a lifestyle, an addiction to be precise". It is not me but people who say that a person used to living in Delhi or Mumbai has little chance of getting anchored elsewhere, they are not an adaptive breed then.
As of Delhi, I find it to be a total delight, an excellent one. Have always been here, though travelling is something I kind of love. This city is something I breathe, I tease, I wish to hold in my embrace and I wonder, whenever on rare occasions I get serious about a girl (...which is something that once started never ends, I just never give up...), this is the city to romance her. Some things that differentiate Delhi from others are - its horizontal expanse, a cosmopolitan cauldron which is co-operative yet rowdy, this city symbolises contradictions and thus it manages to appeal to almost everyone.
Whenever my mind goes on a Delhi walk (a slow stroll in cityscape, it generally happens twice a month or more...), it most of the time overlooks the old Delhi by-lanes and disciplined DDA squatters and straight away flies to Lutyens' Bungalow Zone, Delhi Cantonment, many beautiful and institutionalised places which generally do not feature on tourist maps.
The city, as we all know, has gone drastic and excellent changes in the last decade and this brings this historic city to its latest incarnation, which boasts of a robust infrastructure (still improving), a demanding populace which is ready to fight for almost everything, a jolly diaspora and lot more.
The city once held by creative Urdu elite was taken over by hardworking and somewhat crude on outlook Punjabi tribe after 1947 partition. Though Punjabis still tend to be biggest stakeholders in the city, but time ticks, change takes control and now Delhi comes into a new play becoming a kaleidoscope of what can be called an exuberant bunch of ideologies, mindsets.
Six universities within city limits make it a students' heaven and we all know what 'young' is about, hot-blooded move forth ambition, we-leave-our-mark thoughts, and youth create revolutions. Being political centre has made it a power centre, the satellite cities and the centre live in symbiotic association. It feels like organic evolution in play. 15 years back it would have been outrageous to be out on streets after 10, but now the city never sleeps. The race to become "First City", a "World City", live upto the reputation of being capital of world's largest democracy has done tremendous good to city and we see a New Delhi shaping up...
I wonder if the ancient ideas of city states do good to growth of the cosmopolitan cities, we still remember Athens, Sparta, Babylon, Cairo, Alexandria, Harappa and Mohan-jo-Daro, don't we? Across the world, cities independent of state jurisdictions (at least having privileged statuses) have done excellently well -
> Hong Kong (the city probably should never be retrospective about being in foreign control for 100 years),
> Singapore (a city state in true sense),
> New York (probably one of best users of public transport and everyone knows it is one of major main-stay of world economy to date.),
> Washington D.C.,
> Los Angeles (must say money comes into play),
> Dubai (an excellent display of quick wealth, sustainability is questionable after the debt fiasco)
> London (capital of the island nation, in whose empire sun never set barely 100 years ago. This city terms itself cultural and economic centre of world)
How about going for a competitive growth spurt within India. It has always been a question of tussle, which is better? Why not let these megapolis in India with funds and ambitious targets to meet their aspirations and compete for being the best (nothing less does today) on one front or the other.