I realized today morning that I woke up brimming with words and wordlessness. For the last month or so, the looming doom of a London winter had made me slightly quiet. Even if it isn’t that cold in London, I think the trip to India in September had left me India-sick.
In Delhi, the sights of life and history tend to invade me. This need to describe is not verbose. It’s merely this incredible urge to articulate. The words then tumble. As I look at the photographs of monuments, I am aware that even with all the words I know and might learn, to describe Delhi is still to be tongue tied.
I know of people who insist that they hate Delhi, or look sideways and tell you that Delhi is a village. But any city that has existed for as long as this city has harbours villages within itself. Not everyone moves in the same pace or the same direction. The city is lawless, but even in that chaos, the order of parochialism and patriarchy bend for those who understand it. This is not a city that manufactures. It trades. Not the sort of trading that perhaps Bombay does – but it trades in power, dreams and history. Delhi was never really about money, it was always about power and ownership. And now we battle over who owns which part of this city and which element of its history should be celebrated.
My friends from Bombay they tell me that Delhi cannot compare to it. I won’t argue. I find something to love about every city. In Delhi though, I never had to find it. It found me. It appeals to the most nomadic in me. At the tombs yesterday, we saw grown men play cricket in one quiet corner, and women with their hair open, laughing in the sun. Pigeons and dogs in corners of the ruins. The tombs – they are bustling with life.
Delhi had me babbling in my sleep. There are some cities that never sleep in the world. But there are others that sleep, sleep well actually and wake up yawning and stretchy the next day.