Of Omelettes and Delhi

February 14, 2009

Life always looks better after a good two egg omelette has gone down the hatch. Amazingly better, specially if it’s made by someone else and you don’t get to see how much oil has actually gone into the making of it.

Apparently, the kids don’t share this view, which is how I got to eat two such omelettes – how can I possibly lose weight if I’m always eating the kids’ rejects? (Convenient way to blame yet another personal failing on the kids.)

The two egg omelettes are what we got soon after reaching Amit’s father’s home in Delhi.

The train journey was as comfortable, relaxing and unremarkable as I’ve come to expect. A/C First Class is a mode of transport that takes very little getting used to. It beats air travel any day. Amit warned me that when the kids turn five and we have to pay full-fare for them on trains, we’ll have to revert to flying. I don’t know how we’ll handle that degradation and deprivation, but it’s too far away to worry about from now.

We reached Delhi at 6 a.m., and the stark contrast with Bangalore hit me like a slap in the face. H. Nizamuddin used to be this quiet, sleepy station like Bangalore Cantt. Or that’s what I remember. Today it was crowded, noisy and hellish in a way that I thought was reserved for Pahar Ganj.

I used to be a Delhi-ite 11 years ago. It’s not that long, but it might as well have been another lifetime or another planet. Or both. Delhi assails the senses like nothing else I’ve ever met, and that’s me, a former Delhi-ite – in fact, a former proud-to-be-a-Delhi-ite Delhi-ite. What must it be like for those poor Westerners who’ve never been to such a place in this lifetime or before?

Amit went off to look for a pre-paid taxi counter, only to find that there wasn’t one. He then went into the throng of taxi-drivers to haggle for a cab, a skill which he has almost entirely lost. We wound up paying Rs. 220 for a drive of less than 12 km measured by GPS, which the driver claimed blithely was a full 19 km. And me a former Delhi-ite.

To make matters worse, the taxi we ultimately got sounded and felt more like a motor boat – and not a particularly sea-worthy motorboat, at that – than like a car.

No wonder it takes a couple of omelettes and a strong cup of coffee to recover – and by recover, I mean only get sufficiently fortified for the next excursion out of the house, when you get another blast of Delhi right in the face again.

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