Unkempt Delhi 

Last evening we drove back to Gurgaon from Hyderabad. On Friday, we took our standard route of Hyderabad – Nagpur – Sauner – Chinddwara – Narsinghpur – Sagar, and halted at hotel Deepali residency in Sagar for the night. Yesterday the route we took was Sagar – Lalitpur – Jhansi – Gwalior – Agra – Mathura – Yamuna Expressway – Greater Noida – Noida – Delhi – Gurgaon.  

As soon as we got onto the Yamuna expressway, my smile just spread wider as we got closer to Delhi NCR. I love Delhi. Am also it’s severest critic for many reasons, but it’s the only place where I feel at home. Probably it’s the thousands of years of history that lie beneath and above this land mass that’s got the history buff in me hooked or it’s the old world charm of the buildings … There is something special about this city. Gurgaon and Noida may be a part of two different states but they are still part of Delhi for me. With all the crazy traffic we still covered the 45 kms between Noida and Gurgaon in 1.5 hours yesterday – there is no other city in India where you can do that. That’s part of the charm too. 

My dearest friend Sirisha came visiting a couple of years after I got married. She walked into my house and said “you are happy with Krishnan”. I said “that’s true, but what makes you say that?”. I never forgot her answer, she said “your house is maintained so well. Only if you are happy you will take the pain to keep the house well.” Her words have been proven true many times. Yesterday as we drove into Delhi from Noida, the word that came crashing into my mind was “unkempt” and I remarked to Krishnan that Delhi looks like it’s CM, unkempt !!. 

It may seem a little harsh, but I don’t agree with Arvind Kejriwal’s scruffy unkempt look. My father or Krishnan’s father were not rich and didn’t have a lot of clothes, but they were always well turned out. Their clothes were ironed, clean and without any tears. Some shirts were patched and buttons sewed on again but they were never scruffy. I don’t agree with Brinda Karat’s political ideology but admire her for her dressing sense. It’s not flashy but a clean, neat look. Same goes for Sonia Gandhi – she is so well turned out every single time. Sheila Dikshit looks great every time and she is the quintessential Delhi woman. I admire all the Delhites for how well they dress up – you can’t find even a maid lolling around in a nighty. It’s difficult to figure out a beggar during winters, because even he wears a coat ! Then you have Arvind Kejriwal. I don’t want him to be stylish, upmarket – he can continue to play the “am-a-common-man”role for his political advantage but dress well. 

The Delhi roads have potholes, the entire city wears a really sad look, almost as if no one cares. Atleast in keeping the city clean and sparkling, Mr. Kejriwal will find support from the centre, the Swachh Bharat campaign is on, last I heard. Arvind Kejriwal doesn’t care about Delhi is what I feel… How can you keep your house looking scruffy ? Unless it pays to keep it that way or you just don’t care. I can understand the political mileage he gains by keeping Delhi dirty – keep blaming the BJP run MCD, but won’t you even keep up your symbol ? The broom is used to clean up and AK has dirtied what was passably clean. Delhi had terrible dirty patches, but overall the city was presented well, now it just looks unkempt !


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