Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Day Well Spent

It's been a long while since I stopped blogging, though my previous blog wasn't anything worth mentioning either. That was way back in Class 9. Immature, sophomoric and naive (Not that I'm any better now!). So I finally found something worthwhile to start afresh.

Mom told me about the Penguin Classics Library at the India Habitat Centre after reading an article in HT City (
'Book' this weekend - Saturday, March 14 '09). Mom really wanted to go, but she was caught up with work. I asked a couple of friends if they would come with me, but each had prior engagements. I was finally left to myself, so I thought I'll make good use of my day.

I vowed to use only public transport as far as possible and chalked out a plan, at the same time not restricting myself with time constraints (though it turned out that I didn't follow this 'plan' of mine in the end, just did what I felt like). My ride to AIIMS, from where I had to haggle with the three-wheeler guys before one agreed to take me to IHC:

The library had been set up in the amphitheatre of IHC. Small, but more than enough to accommodate all the book shelves and a few single sofa-sets which had been put up so that readers could sit all day long and immerse themselves in their favourite classic (even if you hadn't bought it :) )

At first, I was bewildered seeing the sheer number of titles, and their NAMES... gosh, they were frightening - "The Arthashastra", "Cilappatikaram", "Subhashitavali" and the likes in the Indian section, and books written by people I had never even heard of in the foreign writers section ( I wouldn't even bother mentioning the names here). Scary!! I went through these, trying my best to make some sense of the synopsis at the back of each book. Most (read all) of it seemed Greek to me.

Finally, I came across authors I knew:

The sight was a relief. I headed from the incomprehensible to the comprehensible, and after much consideration, bought a Satyajit Ray, a Rabindranath Tagore and a Bhibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay. All this had made me quite hungry, so went to Eatopia for a quick bite:

It was back to the library to read after meeting my stomach's requirements. I picked up (the prohibitively expensive) Animal Farm by George Orwell, started reading it, felt bored and kept it back, only to pick up 'Nationalism' by Rabindranath Tagore, a book based on the lectures delivered by him during the first World War. Ramchandra Guha introduced the book as "chillingly prophetic". He was supposed to be there that evening with foreign secretary Shivshankar Menon to discuss the book, but alas I couldn't stay back that long, though I would have loved to.

The IHC is a nice place, the hub of all activities along with the IIC right behind it. It is located just right, affording you a peaceful walk around the Lodhi Estate area, all the time being right in the middle of the cultural buzz in town.

I exited IHC and started walking towards Lodhi Gardens, famous for manicured lawns, jogging tracks, huge monuments and lots of greenery, conveniently sheltering coochie-cooing love birds from prying eyes.

A bunch of American kids were playing around the Bara Gumbad under the watchful eyes of their tech-illiterate 'mum', who was being reprimanded by one of the girls for not knowing how to shoot a video. The boy was the naughtiest, constantly trying to get in my way while I was doing some photography.

I wonder if these still exist in Delhi:

Back on Lodhi Road, I spotted quite a few 'exotic' cars: A green Range Rover, a blue and a black Audi Q7, and a stunning maroon Mercedes Benz S-class (pic, on the opposite carriageway).

I also got a good shot of the Safdarjung Airport from the adjacent flyover.

I made a note of certain things:
- I never used my iPod, I guess I was too busy taking in the sights and sounds of the city.
- Autorickshaw drivers in Delhi will irritate you to the point that you don't even feel like stepping out again.
- On my way back, in the Cantt. area, I saw something very amusing painted on the gates to the house of an Army officer. It read: "The dog is OK. Beware of owner." Really interesting.

I got to see a part of my city in ways I had never seen it before.
As a friend rightly wrote in an SMS the previous night, I sure did enjoy my own company!!

PS: This is my first post after a long long time. If you liked it, great, I would love to hear from you. If you didn't, still better, drop in a word or two. I'll try my best to improve the quality of posts, though this one was more of an experience. Thanks!!