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)
"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
The Delhiite is a citizen of
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.
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
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
On an average, the adult male Delhiite is 5'8" tall while the female is 5'4".
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
The notable exception to this rule is the married
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.
However, if you are going to live in
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
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)
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.
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?