Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Final Liberation

Published in Outlook, Delhi City Limits, September 22 Issue.

The instances of life and the moments you hold dear pass in front of your eyes as the end nears, they say. With a heavy heart, I say that the end is drawing near for me as well. I have just a few days left to see my world, my Delhi - the city where I have spent 25 years of my life i.e., my entire life, in my way. The days are numbered. I am certain. It is something that I brought upon myself. The move to the higher world is imminent. I am a courageous girl, not scared of the inevitable. In fact I am ready to brave it. So what if the things, which define my existence, like haggling with the autorickshaw drivers, will come to an abrupt end. Big deal, if the bus conductors will not have to welcome me with a smile and offer me their seat when the Blue line bus is overcrowded just because my false smile forces them to. The perks of the transfer to the higher order would mean that the summer heat, humidity of the monsoons and the bone chilling winters would not be able to touch me anymore while travelling from one space to another. Chatting to friends, in audio levels that could burst the eardrums of everyone in the vicinity, in true Dilliwala ishtyle will be something I did before the end came. Well now that I start thinking about it, I will not be able to capture the images of my Delhi on my camera phone anytime I feel like; that might be a bummer. Observing people and their little quirks while travelling in buses and autorickshaws will become a hobby- unknown and buried in the realms of anonymity. My blogs will cease to carry entertaining stories of my wild escapades on the public transport vehicles of Delhi. I will have to attune my brains to new rules of the new world. I will have to unlearn the practices that I have mastered in the last quarter of the century.

Nevertheless, this liberation promises to be exciting, thrilling, and at the same time nerve-racking, and terrifying. I know it in my heart that the best way to live through these last few days is to live to the fullest. Board the most crowded of buses and demand a seat from the Dilli ka ladka, who would give the most bizarre of arguments against vacating the seat. I can also maximise the experience of Delhi, by giving the vaguest of arguments myself, while bargaining with autorickshaw drivers – like, “I will concede to your demand of Rupees 20 extra, only if you fly me across the traffic jam at BRT.” Ah! I’ll do it all and more to make sure that my last days count.

If by now you are sympathising with me for my numbered days, then don’t worry too much! I have bought a new car and in a matter of days, instead of bus tales, I will have stories of Delhi driving for you.