Delhi. In the minds of people down South. Delhi had been synonymous with Political Power. Not just that, Delhi is in news for many wrong reasons which includes corruption, series of gang rapes, city pollution and what not..!
I boarded the Garib Rath to Delhi from Mumbai Bandra Terminus after my SCMM 2015. I was on my way to Haryana for a friend’s wedding. Before I could get a whiff of Delhi, I was on my way to a village in Haryana, you’d be surprised such villages dot so close to our capital megalopolis. This is India, old and new coexist in surprising patterns.
I would talk about the wedding and Haryana at a different point of time. After the wedding, I was back again at Delhi with couple of new friends from Ireland. The City appeared clean, it was as if it was hastily cleaned. It was cleaned just like how we clean our houses when we have visitors. Delhi was having a high-profile visitor, for whom people were cleaning a mausoleum 100 miles far and samples of air were being tested.
Friends from Ireland would soon fly off to the West and I was solo to look for the soul of Delhi. (Not really, I was just looking for a Metro station)
I wrote the following on my journal
“The Metro ride reminded me of certain sad urban realities. All the travellers were silent and none had a smile on their face. Only those young couples were smiling at all. And yes, those who were speaking on the phone; they weren’t really there. Their thoughts were with the person on the other end of the line. Once the phone call was terminated, they would go back to the silent-sorry state they already were. This is not true for the regular Indian Railways, were strangers engage in talk and everyone share a smile. Here there was no time for that!
The automated voice said, ” Next station, Qutab Minar” and the book and the pencil goes into my jacket pocket.”
I read every single station name accessible through metro, I had a three day pass, which meant I could travel wherever I wanted. I went to all the busy downtown markets where wealthy individuals come to shop and the poor villagers sell belts, clothes and handicrafts made from village or imported from China.
They were everywhere, they were of all kinds, Youngsters, middle-aged professionals, women, old and retired men. They all were wearing a topi now made familiar by a movement. They call it Indian spring, They call themselves Aam Aadmi. They were campaigning. “5 sale Kejriwal”. They handed the pamphlets, offering free wi-fi, cheap water and electricity and tonnes of CCTV for women safety. More than their freebie offers, they had conviction. They were voice, they were part of democracy. They were humble, yet they were arrogant in their humility. I could hear boos from the other side, they shouted their own party names, A big party. They were like thugs, they had no voice or slogans. They shouted “AAP sucks”. They didn’t believe in alternate voices, it was as if they didn’t believe in democracy. AAP workers continued standing in the middle of the island in the junction waving their placards. They were unpaid volunteers. They were working for common good. They were democracy.
AAP won, democracy won. Future holds promise and future is challenging enough.
Lets see, We will all be around. I will be back to Delhi as well.