As autumn breeze flirts with the curtains of my house, I soak in the festive vibes which come with it. Google photos prompts a notification on my phone reminding me of yesteryear when I was still a newbie in this city. Exploring myself along with the city I didn’t fancy much back then. Delhi. My mind wanders to the tales from the Delhi Streets.
It was about five and half years back when I had landed here with bags full of old dreams and newer hopes. I had a few cartons, full of souvenirs and lessons from the cities I had lived in and called my home. Leaving behind the innocence of Bhopal, Bangalore had taught me to accept myself at the very bottom of loneliness. Then Mumbai broadened my horizons and gave me the courage to be myself – a confident version.
It was now the Country Capital, Delhi, as I walked out of the airport with open arms to embrace the changes and chances I was about to take. A shot at my dream, that’s what this city had meant to me five years back. In a way, it was a second chance for the city to make me fall in love with itself which I might have missed the previous time. Little had I known back then that this city would become my address on ID cards!
So, what did this city do apart from becoming my home and making me falling in love with it? I wonder sifting through the memories.
The saga of walking alone continued here as well. In the quest of fulfilling my dream, I walked many paths alone (quite literally) which often felt lonely too. As I explored the deepest corners of the city, I discovered more of myself too. In the crowded lanes of Kinari Bazaar, the glimmering studs and sequin reflected the sparkle in my eyes. The chaos of streets of Shanti Mohalla, a haven for budding designers for sourcing, resonated with my overthinking mind. It made me realize the depth of my passion and how even the chaos made me feel whole and at peace.
This city of heritage also painted a beautiful picture of its royal past in my life. Having been the capital of India (ancient and modern included) for seven times, it opened my heart to myriad of cultural experiences, wisdom getaways and culinary escapades. It indeed told me that food is often the solution to many problems and I couldn’t agree more! When adulting gets too tough, there’s always some good food to escape to! I don’t know if it was the old Delhi charm or the delectable taste of all the cuisine one could think of. My love for chaat grew manifold and like any other Dilliwala I also become a momo fan! Oh, so badly I crave them now!
While giving up a safe cocoon to see if I could fly, I learned adjusting with younger people or what we call GenZ. Being a millennial and wanting to have it all, isn’t a struggle anyone is unaware of! I tasted it too. People here weren’t as kind as I would have appreciated but as life went on serving lemons and I went on having lemonades. Indeed, lemonades become my second favourite thing while shopping. I remember honing my negotiation skills with the shopkeepers of Sarojini Nagar, so I would buy those lemonades to calm the parched throat and the shopping would continue. Those visits never ended without boiled corn on the ride back home in metro.
Travelling in metro was a dozen of lessons in itself, I can say. The biggest thing I learnt was to hustle and make space for myself. Metaphorically, it taught me how to make my voice heard, to watch myself grow to be a butterfly. And with it came the patience from the longer rides, patience to wait. It grew into knowing that things take time to fall in place, exactly the way I wanted to be. Even when the thing I wanted was a seat for the ride. Patience, knowing that some dreams don’t need to be broken, they can be paused for a while. I learnt it’s okay to hold on to your dreams even if it takes time.
It taught me how one can be anything and everything one wanted to be. I saw how this city was as much a city of dreams as Mumbai is said to be.
To the city that taught me, everything in life deserves a second chance, be it a city or a person or a dream or even yourself.
To the city, that gradually grew on me and made me one of its own.
To the city, that now feels home no matter where I travel to.
Delhi, you did capture my heart and made it warmer. You aren’t just a city, you are an emotion.
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