I used to sit on the 21st floor. Now I am retired

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Delhiite

Today as I was making my way to the airport, my car was stopped by four portly men wearing thick glasses and sweet (as in Bengali sweet) expressions and one gangly man with wavy matted hair, who was talking like Mithun Chakraborty.

They had come from Kolkata and were looking out for Dhoomketu, the man who has written the encyclopedic entry on Bongs. I thought they wanted to congratulate me and thus came out of the car. Instantly, their sweet expressions turned to stern. I felt I was in trouble. When Mithun actually adopted the Bruce Lee (ready to fight) pose, I knew I was in trouble.

"Hum tumko chahta hai" (We want you)

"Kyun?" (Why?)

"Those who libh in gelassh houses should nat throw shtones at udders." (Those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones at others)

I was flanked by glistening malls on both sides, but I couldn't imagine they were talking about those class artifices. I looked on, suitably confused.

"Hain, Bangalider niye to khub thatta korle, ekhon ektu Panjabider niye koro, dekhi" (Yes, you have done fun on the Bengalis, now let's see you doing fun on Punjabis)

"I can't. I have to live here." (I am scared of taking on people double my size)

"Theek hai, then on Delhiites." (Okay, then take on Delhiites)

"Okay, done" (Okay, since anyway I am mostly in Bombay, how bad can it get?)

The Delhiite


The Delhiite is a citizen of Delhi who looks the part. While any city the size of Delhi will have multiple niches within it - thus, in Delhi's case, people who think (they belong to the city), or a few who don't look the part, this entry can not attempt to detail such niches out. It's about documenting the average Delhiite.

Talking about averages, because of peer pressure, most Delhiites conform around the mean. This can mean two things:

1) Most Delhiites are selfish in a petty way or unkind.

2) Most Delhiites look, sound, feel the same.

Both are possibly true.

Physical Description:

The Delhiite is shiny. He is especially shiny in the noon day sun and in the dark discotheques. This is however, a post-1950s phenomenon. The partition may or may not have caused it (as sociologists are still debating whether being shiny makes you stand out in a group and thus gives you an identity or makes you conform to other shining examples, thus making you feel rooted), but clearly the shine has been noticed across the world, most noticeably in United States, where the Delhiites are called UFOs.

The shine is because of the weekly facial and the clothes. It is about these people that Mark Twain said, "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society."

The Delhiite can be spotted wearing tops one size smaller than what propriety or even Ravi Bajaj demands. He/ she will wear a tight shirt/ t-shirt, mostly bright coloured over a big buckle, and followed by bottoms, which are the rage of the season - last season. Before Milan can forget its capris, or New York could pack away its harem pants, or London could discard its bell-bottoms, Delhiites pick them up and wear them to parties, movie halls, classrooms, kitty-parties and business lunches.

In winters, the Delhiite dresses like Terminator, in glistening leather jackets with multiple pockets. This habit (forgive the pun!) is mostly seen amongst males. Females look closer to the catalogue for last season's fall/winter collection. Then they get married and wear cardigans over billowy salwar kameezes. Males continue to wear leather jackets.

The Delhiite also believes in accessorising. And pipping the specially made Delhi goggles, which can be worn indoors and at night, is the mobile phone. The mobile phone is joined to the Delhiites hands when he or she turns four and stays there till their progeny or progeny's progeny can afford to pay the bills. Also, these mobile phones have loud ringtones, which give away their owner's location in a hunt. Which is what the Delhiite wants anyway.

On an average, the adult male Delhiite is 5'8" tall while the female is 5'4".

Early Years:

While the young Delhiite might brought up in the world by an aayaji, who fills in during kitty parties and business lunches, the contribution of the mother is not to be forgotten. She's the one who instills two philosophies into the Delhikid. The first is "Cheen Lo" or "Snatch That", which is third thing a Delhikid learns to say. However, it comes out sounding like babyspeak, till you realise that the kid's fist is tightly clenched around what you were holding a few seconds earlier. The second is "Mera kya jaata hai?" or "What goes of mine?", which is something the child learns to communicate through a shrug and a movement away from any trouble.

The Delhikid also goes to the best of schools. Except that for a Delhikid and his Mom, any school it goes to is the best school - be it Happy Flower Pre-Nursery or Lovely Public School. However, the Delhikid unlike its counterparts from other regions of the country - Madras, Bombay, Gujarat or West Bengal, do not suffer from any competitive streaks. Such capitalist tendencies are to be frowned upon.

Instead, the Delhikid is one of the greatest socialists (right after Robin Hood). It believes in "from each according to his capacity, to each according to my need". Thus, childhood is spent in many fun cloak-and-dagger adventures and heists, trying to steal each other's pencils, water-bottles, books, notes etc.

However, this is not to say that the Delhikid is petty. In fact, he has an immensely large heart (the body cavity has to be filled, after all*!). This is demonstrated during the happy burday parties, which are held every year. Every Delhikid attends the lavish-est burday parties. Every Delhikid throws the lavish-est burday parties. So the boasts go on and on, till the kid comes of age.

Growing up:

The Delhikid comes of age when it learns to drive (or ride). Or doesn't, but starts driving anyway. This is when it becomes a man/ woman of the road and the master of all it tramples surveys. Within the ambience of the shiny vehicle, the boy becomes a man and the girl becomes coy.

The Delhikid's schooling, as Mark Twain said, is not allowed to interfere with its education. Most young Delhiites learn their alphabet and arithmetic in the shopping malls and the pool parlours. What use learning anything more decadent than that - like history or science - "Mera kya jaata hai?"

Amongst the first few skills the Delhi youngling is expected to learn is how to beat the system, how to bribe the system and how to drop a few names. All these are nuanced skills that can not be shared over a blog post. Suffice to say, Delhi wasn't built in a day. And that whatever jam you are in, a minister's personal assistant's son can save you.

The other set of skills are around conformity.

As the young years are spent in school uniform and one expensive burday party after another, the kid might develop tendencies to revolt and be different from the mob. This is obviously to the kid's detriment as it might lead to issues like turning up in a shirt and chinos for a night out (instead of regular shiny apparel) or headbanging to bhangra (and vice-versa) or not getting your facial on time. 'Conform or die lonely' is the slogan of the eighteen year-olds. The day boys and girls start looking like the average young person from the neighbourhood, the parents can breathe easy.

Later Years:

For mating and procreation habits (which is all you are interested in), refer sub-section below. Besides those useful activities, the later life is mostly spent on work. This is covered in detail in Social Life. Besides the activities itself, age also takes its toll on the look and feel of the Delhiite.

Besides work and mating, there's not much else the Delhiite does after he turns thirty. Yes, he eats and drinks, but that is covered in Diet.


One myth about Delhi is that the denizens feast on Butter chicken. Completely untrue. The Delhiites love varied tastes and are equally fond of Butter Paneer (especially the vegetarian ones).

A lot of the diet is liquid, consisting of strong beers (Knock-Out) and hard rums and whiskeys (whatever brand is available in the Army canteen).

Mating and procreation:

Once the young man grows up, he finds himself a job (unless there's a family business to lead) and looks for the opposite sex to be friends with. 'Being friends' is a nebulous concept. It usually starts with a yellow rose given on Valentine's Day or Friendship Day or some other Archie's or Hallmark celebration, and ends with a notch on the guy's belt (mostly fantastic and self-made). The girls are mostly coy during the time (learning from others in the spirit of conformity) and thus, wait patiently around the gate of the girls' colleges or stay behind for a little while after school.

However, soon both the parties reach marriageable age and settle down with the man or woman of their parent's choosing. That may or may not stop the man or woman from celebrating Valentine's Day or Friendship Day.

Social Life:

Half of a Delhiite's time (except for with a few notable exceptions) is spent hanging out on the roads, either going to or coming from work, shopping malls, high streets and discotheques. This is where he interacts with his fellow denizens. Often, the Delhiite will stop going wherever he or she was going and do whatever he planned on the road itself. This includes grocery shopping, having intimate conversations with friends (in another car), shouting at old ladies, getting drunk, throwing up and more such hedonism.

The other half of a Delhiites time is spent at work. While work has not been taken to ridiculous extremes as in Bombay, the Delhiite does keep looking for fayda (or profit) in every transaction. The Delhiite is amongst the few species in the world, which can profit from the contradictions of socialism and profit motive within the contradictions of the work-life balance itself.

The notable exception to this rule is the married Delhi female, who spends half her time, weaving sweaters or drying food products (pulses, wheat, pickles). This activity has its origins in the rooftops of Karol Bagh post partition. While the activity is well-documented in various media, the motive is yet undiscovered (as neither misshapen sweaters nor pickles are particularly profitable).


His car with double woofers, triple CD changer, quadruple spare tyres and quintuple bucket seats, obviously, forms a large part of his habitat. Dikchik, dikchik, he goes everywhere.

Besides the vehicle, he also loves his Baroque house with marble floors, carpeted walls and wall hangings. In with the latest trends (of last years), he would not think twice in tearing up the floor and installing low seating or tearing the seats apart, to install low cushions and then tucking the cushions away to install the Lazyboy chair. All this in the drawing room (and the bathroom, which the guests will visit). Jo Dikhta hai, Woh Matter Karta hai, (What can be seen, matters) taking an adage from the Lever's marketing handbook.

When he is not entertaining at home (or getting entertained in another one's home), the Delhiite can be seen in pubs, night clubs and other dark areas with spotty lighting and bhangra music.


Language is a mix of English, Hindi and Punjabi delivered in part-rustic, part-foreign fake accent. Delhi has given two famous words to the world's literary lexicon. This post will possibly be read by under-age kids (don't think that I am worried about kids in Delhi - they are men enough) and thus I won't tell you. Suffice to say that their abbreviations sound like AC or DC or BC (Before Christ, what were you thinking?). These two words are enough for a non-Delhiite trying to explore Delhi literature.

However, if you are going to live in Delhi, do learn two another phrases.

First is 'palli taraf' (Other side), which can be used if someone asks you for directions or the location of anything. The best thing is that this side can be anywhere in all six directions (right, left, front, back, up, down) hence, you will always be right.

The second word is 'Peeche se' (from the back), which is to be used when giving explanation of how something went wrong. Like, "Why did the electricity go?" 'Peeche se gaya hai' (It's gone from the back). Or, "Why have you crossed the stop line?" 'Peeche se pressure tha' (There was pressure from the back). Since usually in Delhi, everything and everyone has something or someone at their back, this will always seem true.

Famous Delhiites:

Famous Delhiites are the Who's Who. For one 'Who' won't do them justice. They need to be another Who's Who, as demonstrated below:

JJ Valaya (the guy who looks like Daler Mehndi but isn't), Bina Ramani (the woman owning the infamous pub), the son-in-law of Amitabh Bachchan, Abu-Sandeep (the designers for Amitabh Bachchan), the husband of Priyanka Gandhi, Karishma Kapur's husband, Sheetal Mafatlal (the woman who is allegedly trying to get all the alleged Mafatlal money)**

Infamous Delhiites are also many: Ponytail, Rahul Mahajan, Sushil Sharma, Ajay Jadeja, and Shahnaz Hussain (for her hair I had to put her in the infamous category)

Closing Word:

Usse Cheen Lo! Mera Kya Jaata Hai? In this spirit, please feel free to tell me what I have forgotten and need to add (feel free to plagiarise from other blogs/ websites when it comes to your ideas). My bong post had six updates and counting. Hope to better that this time.

Update 1: TTG has a response up. Also, soon we'll cover Blueline buses, Cielos and possibly Fabindia. However, what we will not cover, since we never encountered them, "a pretty good night-life, .... for the most part, an abiding respect for the older generation"! They are stuff of good legends.

* Just being nasty. Sorry.

** Sorry, the last one might be a Mumbaikar, but frankly do you care?


Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

Holo na, holo na, ekebarey holo na :). You obviously didn't grow up in Delhi or spend enough time there, and it shows.

The expression "mera kya jaata hai" is very uncommon in Delhi. It's awkward and unwieldy, and any self-respecting Dilliwallah would rather economise his/her breath and say "To mujhey issey kya" or "Mujhey kya". Where did you pick this up?

It's not "palli taraf", it's "parli taraf".

"Peeche se"????? Who uses this expression? I grew up in Delhi and I've never heard it in my life. And in any case, whatever Dilliwallahs might do, they NEVER, EVER get their genders mixed up. Bijli is feminine, so is light. Hence, NOT "peeche se gaya hai", but "peeche se gayi hai".

As for conformity, guess where two fo the most unconventional women in India, Protima Bedi and Neena Gupta grew up.

JJ Vallaya is from Chandigarh
Bina Ramani is from London and NY
Abu-Sandeep are based in Bombay
Robert Vadra is from Moradabad
Rahul Mahajan is from Bombay

Did you just pick names at random? You could have picked up Prof. Arora from Raigarhpura, and that would have been funny, and a Delhi insider joke too.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 4:10:00 PM

Blogger J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Can't wait for the flaming to start, such joy.

But frankly, DK2, this is a trifle forced. Perhaps you haven't lived there long enough. I tend to agree with Swati on most points EXCEPT - hardly anybody other than Khushwant Singh is a born-n-bred (bun-n-bread?) Delhi-ite. It's a city of people in transit. Ergo, DK2's list of names is perfectly valid.

I'm tempted to add my own peeves to the list, but then I know some perfectly decent Delhi-ites. Some of them even drop by this blog (and mine). Hence discretion is the better part etc.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006 6:25:00 PM

Blogger rohitsahib said...


Good effort! ; - )

But i will say that delhi has as many faces as the number of people living here.

There are millions of people with different minds which means millions of views about delhi. ; - )

You can see delhi from my eyes too : www.DelhiEvents.com

Cheers, Rohit

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 7:39:00 PM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

TM, :-). Having spent more than twenty-one years in Delhi, I can't take this lying down. I have heard "mera kya jaata hai" from DESU (DVB), from rickshaw-wallahs, from Redline conductors. I stand corrected on Palli/ Parli taraf. I wish the people I was talking to had as clear a diction!
As far as conformity is concerned, JAP has answered this to a bit. Also, I am sure people would agree that Neena Gupta and Protima Bedi are niche and not representative.

JAP, was getting bored. So the flamebait! But, yes, a little forced. The idea is to work on this. But, if you keep 'peeves' to yourself, how am I supposed to?

Rohitsingh, thanks. Agree with your point, but stereotypes are better fun. Will cover million faces and million minds, some other day.w

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 9:20:00 PM

Blogger Bombay Addict said...

Well done DK2 - a couple of Delhi-ites are ROTFL at this. A worth successor to the Bong post.

Just 2 qts at the commentators
Thalassa - Who is Prof. Arora from Raigarhpura ?? Sounds v intriguing

JAP - Who is Swati ? Lol at KS being bun-bread ! Phunny !

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 9:23:00 PM

Blogger Bombay Addict said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 9:25:00 PM

Blogger Bombay Addict said...

sorry - i meant "a couple of Delhi-ites at office are ROTFL at this" (eessh..where's my coffee..)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 9:27:00 PM

Blogger Shilpa said...

hahaha..well done DK2, but i third that: a trifle forced, innit?:)

Btw, you have described the average Punjabi Delhiite. Most other species who live in Delhi would deviate from this mean at various angles. But they all converge at one point, which is when they collectively look down upon the average Punjabi Delhiite:))

And yes - I am familiar with he "peechhe se" statement too - courtesy DVB or what used to be DESU at one time. "peechhe se orders hain maddum" preempts any further questions you might have wanted to ask them.

Btw, i noticed a stark omission in your description - tha of the unmarried Delhi female. Eh?

Btw, Dr. Arora from Regharpura is a err..phaimuss..er.. sexologist - his wunnerful ads used to be plastered on any available wall in Delhi till a few years back, which prompted 6 year olds to ask embarrassing questions to their red-faced parents:)))

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 9:54:00 PM

Blogger Shilpa said...

Oh and btw, guess where there has been a spate of absolutely brilliant rock and blues gigs in the lst four months - DELHI. And contrary to your idea of delhi being the Bhangra capital of the country, there is a huuge authentic non-bhangra crowd here!
(Have to stand up for my city - where it matters:) )

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 10:00:00 PM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Shilpa, if another person tells me that this is trifle forced, I will get into depression. U mean not even one of the observations was funny, or memorable, or hard-hitting!! :-)

Not even one teeny, weeny word made you smile. If it did, then please spare me the blushes.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 11:39:00 PM

Blogger Shilpa said...

oh no! By trifle forced, i meant trying too hard in some places..which doesn't mean it's unfunny!:) Chuckled quite a bit reading it:D
But really, where is the Average Unmarried female Delhiite in that, huh huh huh??

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 11:46:00 PM

Blogger neha vish said...

Well. I think it's more likely "Tere baap ka hai kya?" and "Peeche se Gayi hai" is VERY famous! I used to keep calling DESU and that was the standard response. If the water went off and you called CPWD - same response!

Damn - I miss those Gupt Rog adverts that sprung up by the Yamuna banks - painted in black on walls.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 12:26:00 AM

Blogger eM said...

Another dissenter here--I agree this kind of stuff may have been true of a few generations ago, but not anymore. Your average "kitty party" type is now setting up lucrative businesses and earning far more than her husband, and not just in the pickle area. Also, there's a hell of a lot of humanity in this city--REAL people--you seem to have had some pretty negative experiences with just a few, but trust me, after a lifetime in this city, you know that the people you mention, the mera-kya-jaata-hai type are like, um, 5 per cent of the entire population. It's not fair to completely generalise an entire city just because of a few things. Here's what we DO have: writers, musicians, theatre, a pretty good night-life, some of the oldest cultural spots in the country, wide, wide roads and for the most part, an abiding respect for the older generation, which I think you'll be hard pressed to find anywhere else.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 1:01:00 AM

Anonymous TTG said...

My Dear DK2,
as an non-average, Hairy, Punjabi, Delhi-ite, I object.
Expect a revenge post on the Average Bombay-ite.

As soon as I get off my cellphone and finish my butter chicken.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 2:04:00 AM

Blogger Rohini said...

Actually I agree with most of the comments. My memories of Delhi are mostly from college. Your physical depscription fits one maybe two guys in my class of 50. Delhi (or any other city is far too varied to be summed up quite so snappily. Though I agree that stereotyping is fun (even if not always accurate)...

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 2:37:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it would incomplete to illustrate the typical Delhite without 'Aur bol?'.

In Delhi, every conversation starts with an 'Aur bol?'. And it never ends. You have just finished describing to a Delhite your life-and death battle with leukemia or ended a monologue on the pros and cons of the Revolt of 1857. And after you are through (at least you thought you were through), the Delhite shoots back, 'Aur bol?'

I have got this vague theory that if Vyas was narrating the Mahabharata to a Delhite and the battle of Kurukshetra has just ended, the lessons have been learnt and the Pandavas have walked to Kailash and Vyas is about to roll up his papyrus, light up a joint and retire...a Delhite would have said 'Aur bol?'

What does this 'Aur bol?' signify? Is it an urge to grasp at the last straw of hope to prolong the conversation. A last attempt to make you feel that you have a great listener.

Or it can be something else. In a way 'Aur bol?' is a talisman for saying that 'I am unfazed'. It's like saying that whatever be your travails, I will not succumb to the same.

What does this say about a Delhite? My first theory suggests a warm heart. While the second one suggests a stronger mettle.

Now both this theories can be easily caricatured. But that is not the point of this post. Contrary to popular belief, my experiences with the typical Delhite have been quite different. Yes, he wears a leather jacket and she weaves a misshapen sweater, but they are among the most warm, friendly people I have ever met. I know the ones I am talking about are not aberrations. They are your typical Kalkaji-Punjabis-with-a-Cielo-in-the -front-yard-and-a-bore-well-in-the-basement.

As for the strength of their hearts, we are talking about people who had lost everything in the Partition and still managed to make a good life for themselves and their progeny. Sometimes it is easy to miss the truth beneath the veneer of butter chicken, influence-pedlars and baroque drawing rooms and bathrooms.

In case the readers are interested in the credentials of this writer, don't mistake for me Delhite. I am a Calcuttan at heart, who has spent two years in Delhi and currently reside in Mumbai. I had a great time during those two years and a few months more that I spent there.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 3:17:00 AM

Blogger IndianArchie said...

You address the kids as 'It'. Have you no respect for their rights? Are you aware of the trauma they may go through, on reading your words? Do you even CARE that by addressing them as such, you equate them to a tin or khaali dabba, which is also referred to as 'It'?

Kids are people too. Please be kind to them and give them a chocolate.

'It' is not too late to make amends.

Musings that Amuse

p.s: For those who didnt get 'it': This is a joke. ha.ha.ha.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 3:17:00 AM

Blogger neha vish said...

*Shaking head thoughtfully*
You also forgot the late 90s Cielo thumping driving around MBlock, with music (or random beats).

Such memories I tell you. Of men reaching out of cars to bump into women. Ggrr

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 5:08:00 AM

Blogger chitgo said...

brilliant :)
although my favorite delhi phrase was overheard by an overwheight punjabi lady shouting at her driver in the middle of south extension
"bintu tu Jhen le aaya cialo nahi laya?" (bintu why did you bring the zen and not the cielo?)
lol...no amount of sarcasm pointed at this phenomenal city would do its idiosyncracies justice.
cheers mate and write on.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 5:35:00 AM

Blogger The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

i loved it! the shiny 'habit', the 'swaetar' over billowy salwaars...spot on!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 5:47:00 AM

Blogger Brown Magic said...

terrible, this is. such a minute segment of the population you mock.

What about the fab-india delhites with jute jholas? What about different species that are north campus Vs. south campus DU students? what about famrhouse party-goers?

I demand comprehensive mocking of all delhi stereotypes.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 7:47:00 AM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Shilpa, (sigh of relief!)

Neha Vish, those Gupt Rog were more UP than Delhi, though the border is quite blurry!

Em, I agreed with a lot of what you said, till I heard this... you know that the people you mention, the mera-kya-jaata-hai type are like, um, 5 per cent of the entire population. Not true at all. More like the majority. Yes, people who I hang out with (which is a lot of Delhi people) will not fall in that majority, but the fact remains that majority are "mera kya jaata hai" or "mujhe kya?"

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 8:09:00 AM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

ttg, I will look forward to it!

Rohini, the comments are being split down the middle (except for digs at me for forcing it!), so which side do you agree on?!! No seriously, as I have mentioned in a previous comment, the people we go to college with aren't the majority (also, most of them in our college spend barely 3-4 years in Delhi). Can elaborate on this, if not clear enough. Having said that, even amongst North Campus denizens, the description isn't far from reality.

Anon, good point. Can't disagree with your broad thesis.

Indian Archie, typing he (or she) was proving tiresome! :-)

Nehavish/ Chitgo, yes, those cielos. I remember.

Girl from Ipanema, thanks!

Brown Magic, FabIndia campus goers will be covered. Especially since by the cut and blockprint you can make out whether the woman is from LSR or Gargi!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 8:27:00 AM

Blogger Falstaff said...

Dhoomk2: You're lucky I don't want to send you into depression. But I mean really - Delhikids have no competitive streak? Dude, where were you when the Modern-DPS slanging matches were happening?

Oh, and can I protest the exceedingly elitist tone of this post. The average Delhi-ite does not drive around in dhinchik car with super-woofers, the average Delhi-ite travels by BlueLine bus listening to squawky renditions of the latest B-grade Hindi film songs, thus acquiring a lurid and detailed knowledge of cholis, kabutar, and other such exotic objects. The average Delhi-ite does not speak with a foreign-fake accent, the average Delhi-ite speaks in a pure-bred Punjabi accent, especially when he / she is speaking English. The average Delhi-ite cannot afford to use his / her cellphone all the time, he / she reserves cellphone use for the times when it really matters - in cinema halls, restaurants and hospitals, for example. The average Delhi-ite does not have a baroque house (only the really rich can afford to have their luxurious bungalows with as much as one whole parking space for their four cars), the average Delhi-ite lives in a 'tiny' three bedroom apartment with rooms the size of a football field. Actually, the average Delhi-ite no longer lives in Delhi but in Noida or Gurgaon. The average Delhi youngster is not brought up by his / her ayyah, the average Delhi child is brought up by his / her neighbours, who know more about him / her than his / her parents. The average Delhi-ite does not care about eating butter chicken or butter paneer - the average Delhi-ite sees eating out as a means of self-expression, an opportunity for his / her views on everything under the sun to be heard by anyone sitting within a 50 metre radius at the restaurant.

Oh, and as Brown Magic says - whither the jhola-wallas. Or the sarkari types?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 8:55:00 AM

Anonymous TTG said...


Wednesday, June 28, 2006 9:09:00 AM

Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

Shilpa: I'm afraid you've got it wrong.

Bombay Addict, Prof. Arora is most certainly not a sexologist, in fact would be very embarassed to be described as such. He's a matchmaker, and a legend among the matrimonially inclined in Delhi. Back in the pre-Shaadi dotcom days, Prof. Arora was the only one who could guarantee you "rishtey hi rishtey". And the Swati in question happens to be me.

Curious here, Shilpa, Neha, Dhoomk2, did you guys grow up in South Delhi? I don't know what your DESU-wallahs were telling you, but I've never heard them use the term "peeche se gayi hai" ). The standard explanation was "transformer ud gaya hai".

I guess different DESU offices use different lines. But to extrapolate and say that this is the most common expression in the city, puh-leez. Not in my part of the city, for sure.

JAP-da, many, many people are born-and-bred Delhites, yours truly included.

And lay off the Punjabis will ya? You're all just jealous, 'cause not only are yummy-eye candies like Shiney Ahuja Punjabi, but so is the darling of the Indian chattering classes, Vikram Seth :).

So is India's best known sociologist (Veena Das) and India's best known historian (Romila Thapar). And before I forget, they all grew up in Delhi!

And ain't nothin' wrong with bhangra. You're willing to indulge every whiny, self-absorbed, rocker-whatchamacalit (a la Strokes and Coldplay), but bhangra is unacceptable, why? Because heavens forbid, the plebian masses like it, and that's like, totally like, uncool!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 10:18:00 AM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Falstaff, Thanks!! My responses below:
Modern-DPS slanging matches are so 1970s that you reveal nothing but your age in asking for this!!

Average Delhi-ite travels by BlueLine bus is a point which I agree to. Especially in early years (for even you'll concede that everyone has to own/ hire/ steal/ borrow a vehicle to get around in this city after a point of time)

the average Delhi-ite speaks in a pure-bred Punjabi accent, especially when he / she is speaking English. is nitpicking! No?

The average Delhi-ite reserves cellphone use for the times when it really matters - in cinema halls, restaurants and hospitals, for example. That is a good point. Will make the distinction between having a phone glued to your hands, and actually using them.

the average Delhi-ite lives in a 'tiny' three bedroom apartment with rooms the size of a football field, decorated in lurid Baroque fashion, so obviously we are saying the same things!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 11:42:00 AM

Anonymous six degrees only said...

dikchik dikchik
you is evil, i say :D

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 8:29:00 PM

Blogger corporate whore said...

my two bits.

Dk2, get your valium out, because what i am going to say will send you into depression.

It was a trifle forced, i admit. In the bong post there was an element of pride mixed will all that humour, which was why it was hilarious, but this one looks like a wary third person view, and considering the fact that you are a dyed in the wool delhiite yourself, it doesnt ring true

Also where are the real slices of delhi, the under-pressure-to-be-uber-cool JNU bunch, the not stop incessant rambling / pride about the Delhi winter, variations of Delhi, dally and dilli in speech, the perennial divide between sauth dally and yamuna paar etc etc.

and women "knit" swatters not "weave".

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 9:53:00 PM

Blogger Shilpa said...

Oops, Thalassa - my bad. Mixed up my funny-wall-ad-memories, i guess.

But I insist - the peechhe se gayi hai expression was ubiquitous - I have lived in both north and south delhi and it was the same everywhere. Transformer udd gaya hai was used by them only when they felt the need for creative relief. Curious - what part of Delhi did you grow up in to have not heard of that expression?

And oh no - I have nothing personal against punjabis. They are just the easiest targets you can find in Delhi (both from the point of view of abundance and sheer quality) for entertainment:D Bongs, btw, stand second in that priority list.(DK2, take note).

As for Bhangra versus rock/jazz/blues/ghazals/folk/indian classical/Carnatic etc.: I cannot say it better than a cliched different strokes for different folks:) No looking down upon anything involved there, I assure you! Wonder why you'd assume otherwise.

ALL that said, I absolutely love Delhi:) But I am not averse to laughing at its idiosyncracies just because I am a part of it:)The typicalities and idiosyncracies are a part of why Delhi is so lovable!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 10:55:00 PM

Blogger The One said...

I just wanted to mention 3 things-

1. Clear Prof. Arora's name - He's a matchmaker, not a sexologist. But I see somebody has already done that. The defaced walls along the railway lines from Aligarh to N. Delhi Jn. bear witness. "Rishtey Hi Rishtey, Milein toh Sahi" , Regarpura, Karol Bagh. But one thing- after numerous wool shopping trips to Karol Bagh with numerous relatives from Cal (who obviously call it Karol Bazzar), I still haven't been able to find out wherein N.Delhi 110055 is this regarpura place.
2. The second thing which Falstaff has already pointed out- Delhi kids are in fact hugely competitive. I think of all of Delhi youth's obsessions, the one with Joint Entrance Exams and Pre-Medical Tests is most enduring.
3. The funniest Delhi quote I guess is heard on crowded buses- DTC or otherwise: "Na Aariya Hai, Na jaa riya hai, Khare khare muskura riya hai" if time permits; or just "Side ho le".
4. Of course, any one who studied in Delhi in the early 90s and travelled on Blueline buses cannot but help remember the concept of "Staff!"


Thursday, June 29, 2006 1:31:00 AM

Blogger J. Alfred Prufrock said...

If it's not Prof. Arora, WHO is the specialist in "gupt rog" whose ads start on the walls from Ghaziabad? I so remember reading them on wall after wall as the Rajdhani slowed down.


Thursday, June 29, 2006 2:27:00 AM

Blogger The One said...

Oh ... and if you wish to mention a clinic for gupt rog, Sablok Clinic and Ashok Clinic, near Nayi Kotwali, Darya Ganj will do the job

Thursday, June 29, 2006 4:49:00 AM

Blogger Lalit Singh said...

Most Delhiites are selfish in a petty way or unkind.
Most Delhiites look, sound, feel the same.

Maybe u had a bunch of such people around you dude... but these lines certainly do not represent delhi mileau

"Peeche se" is hard to recall but everything is 'parli taraf' or 'aagey'

and the accent is not only pujabicised but may also have a jat tinge to it
Ij it making some sanse??? Ju hab to hear it actually.
And the irritating habit of referring to women as 'Laydij' singular or plural


"Transformer ud gaya hain" & Proff Arora, 28 Regarpura of rishtey hi rishtey fame
U r one true blue delhiite

@the one
If u have been around Karol Bagh u must know ajmal khan road.. spotr the 'Punjab sweets' shop. the bylane adjacent to the shop will lead you to Regar Pura..
and the 'staff' thing still holds good (at least till 2003 till i was there)

Thursday, June 29, 2006 5:02:00 AM

Blogger ~ Diano ~ said...

Hahahah. Good one.

Thursday, June 29, 2006 5:35:00 AM

Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

Shilpa: I grew up in Central-west Delhi, near Karol Bagh, in the heart of the city. I went to school at Pusa Road. What part of North Delhi did you live in?

The One: Lovely comment. Prof. Arora ki jai ho. Speaking of sexologists, there was the famous Hakimji ka Shafakhana who was located in Chandni Chowk, his name escapes me.

And your comment brings out the delightful idiosyncracies that should have formed part of this post. Remember how Khalsa College "Staff" was valued over everything else?

That "Aa riya hai" is very, very old Delhi speech, and usually in buses that plied from ISBT to ITO you could hear it often.

Regarpura is next to Dev Nagar and Tank Road in the Karol Bagh area.

Thursday, June 29, 2006 11:08:00 AM

Blogger The One said...

And another very Delhi concept: "Approach". Every one seems to have it.

Friday, June 30, 2006 10:56:00 PM

Blogger Pravau Almighty said...

I've been to Delhi a few times and am convinced that a state of debauchery and decadence has gripped it. People are utterly materialistic in their outlook and believe that showing-off is the sole path to salvation.

To recount one of my my experiences: I was in the Recovery Ward (where patients are taken immediately after the operation) of a hospital, looking after my kin. Next to my kin was another chap - must have been in his early 40s, with his wife (apparently) seated by his side. Now, this lady had an unwieldy and expensive mobile phone which she evidently did not know how to operate (one of the nouveau riche which the city is infested with). And here's the million dollar question - can you guess what she had for ringtone?
You are not far-off - 'Aashiq Banaya Aapne'!

Apparently, she did not knoe how to put the phone in silent mode, and so her phone rang three or four times , with Himess Reshimiya barking at the top of his voice , before she was kicked out of the ward.
Ah! and did I forget to add that she had an abominable Punjish accent.

Sunday, July 02, 2006 3:57:00 AM

Blogger GT said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 12:01:00 AM

Blogger GT said...

true, most of what you have in here. agree on the 'forced' part though. perhaps more than trifle.

and where are the (jaat) thullas who spend their days asking hapless car drivers for "lacense / RC", and their evenings harassing couples in priya park / buddha jayanti park / lodhi garden?

men who casually give women the 'grind' in crowded blueline buses, as fellow passengers look on? 'staff' on buses?

auto-rickshaw meters that never work? And the ones that do run fast enough to make up for all the other meters that aren't running?

the chatori (chat eating / gossip monging) punjabi aunties of lajpat nagar?

the famous sablok clinic is in ashok vihar (which when i last checked was very in delhi) and its advertisements are plastered all over west delhi. you can be treated for bawasir, sheeghrapatan or other related disorders.

as for modern/dps slanging, i saw an email chain with the two schools taking a dig at each other (poetry, et al) as late as 2005. i'll try to dig it up for you.

i still love delhi. i can rave about the city as much i can rant about it. which is more than i can say for a lot if other places.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 12:09:00 AM

Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

it's hakim harkishan lal. and ashreeforte yauvan shakti sangrakshak.

bhaut-ogya side-ole.

Thursday, July 06, 2006 11:08:00 PM

Anonymous Vikas Sahay said...

You will have to work a little harder to get the Delhiite right. In your own words - plagiarise a little. Like Mark Twain said, copying from one author amounts to plagiarisation, whereas copying from many amounts to research.

Ofcourse 2 standards you forgot are:

1. Square soled shoes (usually black with a gawdy buckle)

2. Tereko maloom nahi hai main kaun hoon?

Will wait for the new edition before commenting further though I have to admit I love coming back to your blog every now and then.

Thursday, August 17, 2006 2:09:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess you guys have had this going for a while and have meandered off to other pastures but I have just returned from Delhi and interestingly found one solitary white painted (almost faded) rishtey hi rishtey banner on a wall in Jama Masjid (had to squint hard to make it out).

I have lived 30 years in Delhi before moving out and still return thrice a year to seek out the Delhi I know. Do always do a bus ride for old times sake, looking for the hand-cut stencilled poorly painted messages.... kewal mahilayein...where the ma was invariably scratched off for a kewal hilayein..... shareer ka koi bhi ang chalti gaadi se baahar na nikalein......dhoomrpaan nishedh...1,2,3 seat par sona mana hai....bonait par baithna mana hai...chalti gaadi mein driver se baat karna mana hai....aage se chadna mana hai....and i dunno if it still exists but that 12.50 pink coloured aal root student pass was such a treasure back in those days...
Radio is something that's undergone a sea change from back then. Two film music pragrams (lasting 90 minutes) was all you got in 12 hours....and the commercials between numbers were HILARIOUS.....very creative sometimes but HILARIOUS...

And a term without which no Delhi-ite is complete is Baddak...........maan we Delhi-ites revel in showing off our whos who connection and exaggerating everything that comes out of our oral cavity....ojee ...bas awaaz kar dena.....mint to pehley kam ho jaayega.....asee kis layee baithey haan......bus hukum....oh BC bunty da mama air india da number two hai.....and so on.....and the baddak that vikas refers to ...tu jaanta nahin main kaun hoon....chahoon na do do mint mein ghayaab kara doon...pata bhi nahin chalega....
And how can a Delhi blog be complete without Depauls....Bankura and teh likes although Delhi has graduated to much Swankier places but Depauls still retains its place as the most popular rendezvous joint for Delhi-ites visiting CP

Tuesday, January 09, 2007 2:58:00 AM

Blogger DSingh said...

hahaha .. a bong writing about delhi ... just livin in delhi or spndng some tym ... dsnt make u a delhiite bro ... why most ppl hate delhi and say shit about it is becoz they have nthng lyk this in their hometowns .. ppl come frm some shitty ass small town ... suck the juice out of delhi ..and then crib about it .. they are only jealous .. ive been to many places in india nthng beats delhi .. somebdy rightly said u can take a man out of delhi but cannot take delhi out of a man ...
some of the things u said are ryt but delhi is much more complex than this .. i wud like to read what u write about other places may then only ill be able to conclude if u hate everythng or its just delhi ... tell me if m wrong ur gf was frm delhi and she ditched u ?? ryt ... u were lookin to write something funny i bet ppl will laugh at this .. lol ...

@ shilpa ..m sure ure nt a punjabi some baniya i guess ..naam se lagta hai .. delhi was built by punjabis and muslims ..thats why ull find distinct punjabi touch in everythng ...evn ur bong frend missed to mention this .... u ppl are just musafirs .... and yeah bangra rules delhi ... u can always lyk other music but if u dnt lyk bhangra u can never be evn 5% delli wala .. man dilli dilwalo(punjabis and muslims ) ki hai .. just never forget this ...

Sunday, April 10, 2011 4:36:00 AM


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