Anurag Jain's Blog
Sunday, December 21, 2003

What does your city mean to you?

These are some funky descriptions (titled 'A mural of India') of different Indian cities that I got in an egroup sometime back. Pretty cool stuff.

Delhi -----The capital, seat of political power, the satta game! Republic and Independence day parades. Golgappes. Punjabi Dhaba khana! Sardars (not in the funny sense)!10 Janpath! Cheap affordable housing. HOT SCORCHING summers, COLD CHILLING winters. Pollution. Not very friendly neighbors, (what little I experienced). Chai in earthern pots! Ambassadors (cars here!). Black Cats! Sonia Gandhi!

Mumbai ------City of dreams. Economic capital. Movie Magic. Marine Drive, Gateway of India, Hotel Taj, Balajis opp the Domestic Airport (by the way guys he sells wonderful filter coffee). The Southindians of Matunga, the Gujjus of Ghatkopar, Sion Koliwada where Panjus and Sardars reign, Dombivili where an estimate of 1 lakh mallus reside, Mulund the new upcoming suburb, Bandra with its bandstand for lovers and Mount Mary for those who have faith in the almighty. Mumbai where we have a Haji Ali and Mahalakshmi face each other and most who go to one make it a point to go to the other. The UNDERWORLD. The Mumbai nightlife. The angry young man! The drunk actors and cute actresses. The city that lives by its train timings. Dharavi, Vashi, Dadar, Colaba, Bal Thackrey, BEST, bomb blasts, Prithvi Theatre, Bhel puri, neon lights, Ganesh Chathurti. Sachin’s Ferrari.

Kolkata -------Trams, mini buses, rosogolla, mishti doi(sweet yoghurt), buses named 12C/32A/29D , ISI(the one which deals in pure Statistics), Hilsa fish(rather any fresh river fish), horrific sweat, chappals, the 20 paisa (do you see that anywhere else in India?), most Nobel laureattes of India and an Oscar, people fiercely protective of their culture, Salt Lake stadium, chaotic, poor, an impossible mess of Communism and theft, yet afloat with hope and theatre. Sisters of Charity.

Chennai -------Chennai the new Tech hub. The Mysorpak from Krishna. The Masala dosas. The Marina beach, The sweet smell of Jasmine garlands. The AIADMK and the Almighty JAYA. Shivaji Ganeshan and Kamlahassan. Where temples are built for heroines and food distributed outside every theator that screens a Rajnikant movie. The Natural Icecreams. The temples, the yellow vermolin that shines on every mamis face.

Bangalore ---------The garden city, set dosa, the largest population Kannada speaking Tamils, Malleshwaram, MG, Kemp Fort, Software, no water, pubs, Vidhan Soudha, Vivesvaraya, spanking clean, sweet, relaxed, greatest weather. Techies who know the right rules to flirt and have a Doctorate in flirting (in the good sense guys). The lovely smell of Bangalore.

Pune ----Maharashtra's seat of culture, laid back, insane traffic, a few curious, but good watering holes, one of the most flamboyant race courses, has the fastest growing suburb of Asia, the Scotland of the East, pensioner's paradise. Osho, the ABC farms. The hot afternoons, the lovely nights and early mornings. The Misal and Usal. The Batatachi Bhaji!

Chandigarh ---- Modern city. Le Corbusier. Nek chand. Kalpana Chawla. Shabir Bhatia. Kapil Dev. Yuvraj Singh. Kiron Kher. Poonam Dhillon. Wide straight roads. Landscaped roundabouts. Sector 17 with its Coffee House, popcorn and softy ice cream. Absence of sector 13!. Criket stadium, CLTA. PGI. Education mecca for medicine (allopathy, homeopathic, ayurvedic, dental), engineering, art, fashion designing, architecture. You name it we got it. Girls zooming on two-wheelers. Hipsters vs patiala salwars. Nike vs Punjabi Juttis. Univesity campus with its Stuce (student center), cold coffee, samosas with chana and the English department. Two state governments and the luxury of union territory. Rock garden, Rose garden, Hibiscus Garden, Terrace Garden, shantivan, Sukhna Lake and beautiful view of the mountains. Mangoes, Amaltas, Bougainvilleas, termites:-( Kundis. NO Traffic Jams! Houses with patch of green in front. Quiet. No nightlife. Morning Walkers. Home to me.

Shimla ---- Toy train. 103 tunnels from Kalka to Shimla. Monkeys. Ridge with its Christ Church, Goofa restaurant and Gandhi statue. Scandal point, HQ of Bharat Scouts and Guides and post office. Tibetian market. Indian coffee House and Chinese shoe shops. Asian book house. Him Bakers. Gaiety theatre. Bengali tourists with monkey caps and locals with sleeveless sweaters and umbrellas. Lakkar bazaar lined with numerous hotels. Lower bazaar where tourists do not tread! Boarding schools. Cecil. Shimla Museum. Advanced Studies Institute. History trapped in buildings. Long walks. Flowers in April. Rhododendron lined forest road from St. Bede's to Jakhu. Fragrance of pine. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Overcrowding in summers. Trash down the hillsides. Still the Hill queen.

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