Some one has rightly said,”It is easier to criticize a thousand things than to appreciate a single thing”, and this adage is more than proved when people are asked for their opinion(s) about Delhi. Their responses range from lambasting the city on its unsafe conditions, to (de)crediting it with being the crime capital of India, from ridiculing it for being an epitome of Red Tapism and bureaucratic delays, to publicizing its maximum rudeness quotient and severe lack of patience amongst its denizens and finally from predicting its explosion on account of its crumbling infrastructure to impugning its people for their devil-may-care attitude! Indeed, but isn’t this true of other cities as well? Then why blame Delhi?
Surprisingly, if you opt for the easier way out, asking those once-Delhite-now-Mumbai-based-celebrities, they seem to have come upon a mutual consensus (read: same old answers), when appreciating Delhi. Picture this-“I love Delhi for its winters…..for its wide roads…for its chaat…..for its Paranthe Wali Gali….blah blah blah! This list is very much exhaustive and it’s only the order of preferences that seems to change, certainly not the preferences!
Here I think it is imperative to pause for a moment and wonder-is this what Delhi is all about? Can we really afford to sum up what this burgeoning city, housing more than 1.25 crore people, has to offer in less than 5 words? Perhaps yes- for those celebrities, but certainly not for a true blue Delhite like me!
I can list “n” number of reasons for loving this city, but unfortunately I have to restrict myself to 1000 words! To begin with, I love Delhi for its PEOPLE! You may call it a melting pot or a refuge for all migrants, I love it nevertheless. What it offers is a mix, a wonderful change where vibrant hues of different cultures intermingle, lose some of their original elements, only to incorporate newer ones, thereby spicing it with Delhi’s own “tadka” and evolving a color of its own!
I love it for its culture, or the lack of it! A Delhite is as free as a bird in the sky; he/she doesn’t have to adhere to a particular stereotypical line of thought or attitude. The sheer variety this city offers is unbeatable and leaves no stone unturned in leaving an indelible impact on everyone!
Of course, cynics would cease to referred to as cynics, if they did not ridicule the term “Delhite” and did not point out fingers at what they call ‘its growing irrelevance’, however I beg to differ with them. Here, I daresay that I love Delhi for its sense of brotherhood and neighborhood, wherein people seldom discriminate against each other in times of need (proof: Sarojini Nagar bomb blasts in 2005), but before people start cribbing that Delhites unite only in times of calamities, I have to say that adversities are the crucial testing times where this unification is needed the most!
Moreover, which city can claim the badge of honor of keeping its people united at all times? Then why blame Delhi?
Call it the ‘Rang De Basanti effect’ or awareness, Delhites seldom fail to rise up to the occasion-be it participating in candle light vigil marches at India gate demanding justice for Jessica Lall and Priyadarshini Mattoo or be it just sending an SMS or clicking one’s mouse to sign an online petition demanding a retrial, Delhites have often defied the popular perception that they don’t care for anyone!
As a city, Delhi has adapted itself with the changing times and yet maintained an aesthetic balance of modernity and old world charm, a living proof of which is the plush GK market vouching for the former and colorful Chandni Chowk vouching for the latter. This city welcomes everyone with its arms wide open. Call it the nation’s political capital or residence of India’s Who’s Who, the truth remains that when it comes to feeding people with variable budgets, Delhi is unmatchable! While a parantha might cost Rs 600 in Hotel Ashok, a Rs 6 for a similar affair would not disappoint a rickshaw puller and would help keep that upward curve on his face!
It would be clichéd to say that I love Delhi for its wondrous objects of creativity such as Connuaught Place and Khan Market; I’d rather say that I love it for its friendly “Hello Beta” greeting that the local grocer says, every time you visit his shop!
I love Delhi for its greenery, never mind if some people believe that they have to use binoculars to spot the green color in the city. I love the way the civic authorities have finally started to take care of our once abandoned community parks, visit any of your local parks, bejeweled with flowers and proper walking pathways and you would know what I’m talking about.
I love Delhi for its pollution free environs, courtesy-CNG, the importance of which we tend to realize only when we step out of the city and learn how our lungs have to work overtime to filter out the pollutants! I love it for it’s beneficial for all means of transportation-APNA Delhi Metro! Convenient, efficient and pollution free Metro has revolutionized our entire transportation network and not only made traveling in the city easier, but also comfortable and affordable. Who could have thought of reaching Connuaught Place from North Delhi in less than fifteen rupees also have the pleasure of traveling in clean, air-conditioned coaches! No wonder Delhi Metro is the cynosure of the eyes of all other Indian cites and even of our neighboring countries!
And of course, how can we think of Delhi without its world renowned Delhi University-a university that provides for a host of courses at graduate and post graduate level, where education is heavily subsidized and yet world class education comparable with the Ivy League colleges is available. No wonder, its students are always going places!
Be it St Stephens or Ram Lal Anand college, Lady Shri Ram or Kalindi,the fact remains that each student of Delhi University is more than proud to be a part of it, and rightly so!
Critics may have spent reams of newsprint to critique the shoddy state of Delhi’s historical monuments, yet I daresay that I love Delhi for its monuments! After all, which other city can claim to house so many monuments and offer visual delights such as Quatub Minar, Lal Quila, Humayun’s tomb and Lodi gardens-all at one place?
Last but certainly not the least; I love Delhi for its excellent news coverage, where news channels are exclusively devoted towards covering every nook and corner of the city!