Delhi: Ten Things
Soon I’ll be back in Delhi, before embarking on a photo tour of Ladakh. I’ll also be spending a few more days in Delhi after the tour. I lived in Delhi from 2003 to 2006 and although those were difficult years, I grew to love a lot of things about the city. I always assumed […]
Soon I’ll be back in Delhi, before embarking on a photo tour of Ladakh. I’ll also be spending a few more days in Delhi after the tour. I lived in Delhi from 2003 to 2006 and although those were difficult years, I grew to love a lot of things about the city.
I always assumed I would return “one day.” However, that day has come a little earlier than I had anticipated.
Anyway, in lieu of a more substantial post (things are busy with packing and final preparations), here’s a quick list of ten things I’m looking forward to experiencing.
1. Gurgaon. In recent years Delhi has grown to be the centre of a hub of new cities that embody the modern Indian economic miracle. Gurgaon is one of those; much of it little more than scrub and farmland a generation ago it is now home to a large number of call centres, luxury malls and head offices for major multinationals. The city was also my home (for a few months) and central to much of the life I lived in India. I’m looking forward to seeing how Gurgaon has developed, what has worked and what remains to be done.
2. Mehrauli Flower Market. Delhi’s markets are extraordinary and while I’m hoping to visit a number of them, the Flower Market is my main target. Of all the cities I’ve lived in, Delhi was the one where I most enjoyed having fresh cut flowers in my home and this was where all those colourful delights came from.
3. Fast Food. When it comes to food I’m most at home either in really upmarket restaurants, or down to earth fast food and street eateries. I miss Delhi’s fast food simply because I haven’t tasted anything like it elsewhere. Of course, there are local delicacies, like insanely sweet, fried Jalebis and super spicy Kathi Rolls. But, I’m also keen to go back to McDonalds, which in India has a super localised menu (no Big Mac, the wonderful McAllo Burger and lots of vegetarian specials).
4. Serious Food. I suspect my first upmarket meal in Delhi will be at the Cilantro restaurant in Gurgaon. This was consistently my favourite place for European cuisine. I’m keen to see if Nanking in Vasant Kunj is still there (Chinese food in India deserves a blogpost of its own!). Finally, I will have to find the time to get to Bukhara for a tandoor feast.
5. Fresh Lime Soda. Finishing off the food theme I can’t wait to get my hands on a Fresh Lime Soda, sweet and salty! Forget sports drinks, colas and beer, the Indian fresh lime soda is the greatest hot weather drink ever created!
6. Villages. While Delhi is very metropolitan, there will still areas around the edges of the city and on the roads out to the new cities of Gurgaon, Faridabad and Noida that were still quite rural when I lived there. I’m keen to see what has happened to these villages and how they have developed.
7. MG Road. The Merhauli-Gurgaon road was under transformation when I left Delhi. The road was lined with a lot of stores whose building permissions were often suspect. I remember one luxury mall being condemned before we left and I wonder how many of the galleries, toy stores, sports outfitters and grocers that lined MG Road are still in business.
8. DLF Golf and Country Club. I always assumed that return visit to India would involve a few rounds of golf. Sadly, I don’t expect there will be time for that on this trip. However, I will try to visit my old club to see how things are going.
9. Bookstores. Delhi has great bookstores, which befits a very literate and literary city. I’m looking forward to seeing what how the OM bookstore chain has developed as well as visiting smaller favourite stores in Basant Lok and Khan Market.
10. Shopping. Thinking about Delhi brings to mind some great brands, Zodiac menswear, Hidesign leather goods, Maspar and Fab India for home-wares as well as a string of local designers who I’m sure have now established their own retail outlets.
Of course, there will be more to it than that – seeing friends, visiting parks and monuments and so on. My hope is to be able to blog and post pictures while I’m in Delhi, but I’m not sure what the internet connections will be like once I’m up in Ladakh.
Let the adventure begin.