I’ve spent the last month in Delhi, mostly having fun and spending time with friends. Remote working does have the advantage that I can work from anywhere as long as there’s power and an Internet connection. I’m not a very touristy person, but here’s a few places I visited out of peer pressure and curiosity.
If you have a Bengali friend in Delhi, the chances are quite high that you have been dragged there (er, convinced to visit). In total, I went there 3 times during my stay and each time, I found the food spectacular. More amusing is the feeling that I’m not in Delhi anymore. I hear Bengali everywhere. My friend feels right at home and talks to the shopkeepers in Bengali. The shopkeepers even talk to me in Bengali (I just end up keep a blank face)!
The streets are filled with books. It felt like Blossoms, but on the street with no air conditioning. Overall, I found less fiction and a lot more study guides and the like. There are strategically placed ATMs all around the street, so in case you over-purchase, you can always withdraw more money. The only enemy is the heat. By the time we finished shopping, I was thoroughly exhausted and thirsty. We ate at the restaurant that claims to have invented butter chicken (Not all that much spectacular).
I couldn’t go back home without meeting Prateek and Souvik of Miranj. We decided to go to Old Delhi on a food walk, and luckily we were all non-vegetarians. So, one Friday evening, we took the (very crowded) Yellow line to Chawri Bazar. I took a while to process the streets after getting out of the metro. Crowded streets, cycle rickshaws, and very narrow roads were the norm. To add to the “fun”, there were a bunch of bikes, honking loudly.
There were 6 of us and the plan was to visit 4 or 5 places, ordering food for one person at each place. We started with a place with pretty great buffalo meat. It was spicy and very juicy. We were headed to a place with Kheer next, but they’d run out! At the next stop, we ordered a full fried chicken. Then, it was a mutton curry. The last stop had beef fried rice (…heaven!).
After the main course, we had to have dessert. Souvik and Prateek knew a Kulfi place with a wide variety of flavors. I don’t remember all of them, but to give an idea: Jamun, Paan, and Anaar. I can’t remember the other flavors, but we were fighting for a few of them :-)
Something I noticed while we were there was the gender ratio. There were very few women walking around in the streets. Probably less than 25 during the entire trip. And the streets were extremely crowded.
I learned recently that the Assamese New Year’s is around the same time as the Malayalam New Year and Bengali New Year. On the Sunday after the New Year, we went to an event organized by the Assam Association. I had a bit of a flashback of growing up in the middle east. There was no sitting room once the program started and everyone was enjoying being with people who spoke their language.
Before the event started, we had “lunch” (at 5 pm :P). It wasn’t Assamese food, but more of a generic North Eastern meal. There was pork involved (need I say more?). After we were sufficiently fed, we walked around to discover a Nirbhaya Multiple Expressions exhibition next door. We got back just in time for the cultural programs to start. As usual, it started off a bit boring and then got better. The most fun was a dance by the little kids. They looked very adorable dancing in saris.
Overall, I seem to have gotten a wide range of experiences in this trip. There’s more to do and see, but then I’m incredibly lazy to step out :-)