Ecstasy

Was looking for a suitable word to title this post. A word that could rightly vouch for the state of my mind at the moment. It had to denote some intense energy and playfulness. It had to exude a groovy rhythm and had to be a bit raunchy. Many surfaced as contenders: bliss (sounded too pure and spiritual), delirium (was more like some psycho stuff) and delectation (was just too a happy happy one). Ecstasy won the race as it balanced the pros and cons of its own multi-meaningness the best.

3:00 p.m. left my room in a hurry to catch the metro train till the railway station where I had to see a friend.

3:20 reached the station, met my friend and decided to take a bus for the return journey for which I had to walk a little distance towards the Red Fort.

I am walking now. People rushing around for so many things. Sellers with their cigarette beedi stalls on the footpath make me meander my way through. From somewhere in the horizon, a thick cloud of dust appears and fills my heart with hope and joy in the sweltering heat.

On the way, a policeman chasing a pickpocket. He runs in full force and his massive belly jiggles. The thief, a thin man dressed in black, running for his life. Cross the street. Two young men on the footpath. They sit with a stove and are frying mini samosas. Another man urinates standing not so far away. Bus 26 comes and I get in. Take the last seat. It does not have a glass pane. Someone fought with it may be. The broad open view of all that happens outside thrills me. The hot gush of air strikes at my curls and I close my eyes now and then to prevent the dust from ruthlessly hitting the retina. Men and women busy walking. Some are just resting here and there on the dusty sidewalks. My eyes meet some of theirs. Some relishing cucumbers and smoking. Inside the bus, the conductor looks at a child and smiles. A fellow passenger playing songs on his cellphone player. I take out my cell too and randomly click all that is coming my way. I touch my hair, my fingers comb their way through. Smile to myself all the way. The city appears so much my very own. Like a fiefdom. I share this sense of ownership with the ones who are traveling with me in the buses, rickshaws or the BMWs and the Mercs. See the woman’s saree fluttering in the wind. She clings to the man who is driving her scooter.

It is a Sunday and the roads are not so packed. Paced out traffic. The bus driver plays a catchy song and I sing along loudly. I have found songs playing in running vehicles to be extra musical. An elderly woman looks at me and I stop singing. Leave the seat, walk till the front gate of the bus like a drunken man. Ask the driver to let me alight  at the next stop. He smiles back. Even when he knows its name, he asks “Khyber Pass”?? I utter an emphatic ‘yesss’. Tightly holding the hand rails, I hum again and swerve to the movements of the bus. He pumps up the volume. The tune touches my soul.

My stop is here. I say a loud thank you to the bus driver and get down almost dancing to the tune in my head.

Love was not in the air. Something else was.

Dear Delhi, I am sorry. Next month, I will complete some 12 years of my life with you. And yet it has only been some 12 times that I have felt about you this way. I want to love you and own you as my very own.

Do me a small favor. Please make sure this high tide never slips off my head.

Exuberance of the physique…wow! the way I swerved on the sidewalk and the dancing steps that guided my head!

Yay!

64 thoughts on “Ecstasy

  1. Delhi Dilwaloki. I guess time for you lose yours (heart) now. Seems like bus journey is more interesting than train? Nice narration of a typical rush hour of Delhi.

  2. Until, I read the last lines, I was amazed how the sweltry summer heat of Delhi could have that good an effect on you esp. considering how things have been here the past few days. Strangely enough, the same crowd and heat can get on my nerves; oddly still, Delhi always finds your soft spot.
    And “Ecstasy”? To me it has always been a more drug-induced state than anything else and yet it does somehow justify your euphoria.
    Nice capture there!

    1. Pranav, somehow you pointed to the just right thing. I have always been a critic of the idea of Delhi myself. Have on most occasions found it uninteresting and drugged. Today’s post was more an exuberance of sorts which definitely is extremely momentary (note my use of the number 12 is 12 years). Ecstasy knows (at least for me) no particular occasions to strike. So it could very well be a bus ride in any other part of the world!

      Your lovely frank comment is much appreciated! Do visit again!

  3. Nice writing.
    Somehow I don’t feel that way about Delhi.
    Bus rides are associated with unpleasant memories.

    The same open glass window you mentioned, was used by the passenger in front of me to spit out his “Paan” and I ended up with red streaks on my shirt. He didn’t even have the courtesy to apologise! I tapped him on his shoulder and showed him and he merely shrugged as if to say, who asked you to be in the way!

    Auto rickshaw (or “scooter”, as you Delhiwallas call t hem), drivers have fleeced me and I once traveled half an hour in the nineteen sixties traveling from Old Dehli station to Kashmiri Gate Bus stand and paid through my nose for the privilege. I later came to know it was a five minute ride and the fare would be the minimum. The driver had taken me on a signt seeing tour instead!

    I have been a victim of luggage theft and been ragged by the Delhi pollice when I went to report the theft of my suitcases at Delhi station. (“You think we police folks have nothing better to do than keep an eye on the suitcases of each and every passenger here? Why can’t you be more careful?”)

    Other unpleasant memories too flood my mind and I will not weary you with the details.
    I agree with a Hindi Writer who used to write short pieces on “Be-dil Dilli”
    I agree, with this writer that Dehli is heartless. May be it has a soft corner for you!

    Give me Mumbai, (my birthplace) or Bangalore (my place of domiicile) any day!
    Regards
    GV

    1. Oh Dear Sir,

      I somewhat agree with your views about this place. However, I feel that the post gave the reader an impression that the writer loves Delhi. In fact, the post was more about a momentary spurt of emotions and about an urge to appreciate the city as it presents itself to a resident and less about my sense of appreciation of it.

      People experience a place differently all the time and in each single journey across the city one is bound to encounter sights and sounds which fill us with emotions that vary. And this one was about a trip that was just full of energy and ecstatic. In case the post suggested otherwise, it is totally a failure of my writing skill!

      Warm Regards!

      PS- the next time you visit Delhi or when I visit Bangalore, I would love to go around some places with you and re-explore our cities. Bangalore and Mumbai are great places, I realise. Have not been to either of them. Have only been to Chennai and Madurai in TN and they turned out to be places I simply adore!

      1. Thanks for responding and for clarifying.

        Yes, such momentary ecstatic moments can happen any where and I too have experienced it on the seashores of Mumbai, Chennai, and in the gardens in Bangalore.

        But in Delhi, my experiences would qualify as “agony” not “ecstasy”!

        The only pleasant experience I have had in Delhi was my first ride in a Metro. Soon after it was commissioned, I happened to be in Delhi and I took the opporunity to board it. I had no place to go in particular. I just bought a ticket to somewhere and returned.

        The Metro has been inaugurated for a short distance in Bangalore but it will be another two or three years before it reaches my area and I too can benefit from it.

        If you are ever in Bangalore, do call me and I will be glad to give you an experience that you will cherish. I will take you around in my little Reva Electric car!
        Regards
        GV

    1. Oh! it is the name of a bus stand in North Delhi. Just next to the Mall Road Bus Stand where you get down to go to the North campus of the University of Delhi. Have little idea of why and how does it get its name. (leaves a question in my mind…:) will find out something now) Thanks!

      1. never have been to that side. my territorry was limited to punjabi bagh extn, ashok vihar- two places i have lived. used to go to a local school in ashok vihar, punjabi bagh later joined Raisina in Mandir Marg but availed school bus.

        1. there are no chances of my visiting delhi, if i do and if you are still there it will be great🙂

          when i was in ashok vihar i was a village belle trying hard to survive away from parents🙂 harder to adjust in an english medium school where classmates looked at me kind of ….

        2. I on the other hand always loved going to school but then my guardianship was handed over to my 21 years old elder sister, she demoted me one class and kept me there for three full years, as a result when i landed in delhi i was in class nine, and when i left i was in class ten but west bengal board again demoted me to class nine, after going to delhi i got absolutely bored with studies.😦

        1. Amit, I have seen how you write. Your sentences, the words you use and the structure is really complex and I am learning from it. Seriously, I really have to work hard to catch up to your present level of sophistication. I really appreciate your writing. You know what, I first subscribed to your blog and started following your blog from my mobile while I was in my hospital. In fact, I was busy with something else and didn’t get time to open my computer, so thought to follow your blog otherwise I would have missed. It had really impressed me. I still remember, your blog had a theme of diary at that time.🙂

        2. Dear Raju,

          I just woke up, checked my inbox and found this really warm comment from you waiting for me. It is an honor I am sure.
          Yeah that was a diary theme. I think it is called Choco on wordpress. Very lucky to have a friend like you. I read your blog regularly. I am sorry for not being able to comment on each post. I find your posts very sensitively written and the best part is that most of your posts show that you care about what is going around in our midst!

          Keep writing, keep smiling and yes…keep visiting too!

          Regards!

  4. The best way to explore Delhi is take a U-special from north campus to JNU. I took Purvanchal hostel so many times in my life. I do not know if they have now replaced the old U-specials with the Green buses that DTC use these days. I do not prefer closed doors!

    1. Ustad, there is an interesting thing that has happened after you left. There is a DTC bus service that starts from the metro station and takes u around the campus. Earlier it was a ride for five rupees which sadly has been changed to 10. The U specials are still the same. The new green buses havent been yet made available for the university special scheme I think. I can very well imagine you enjoying Delhi traveling from “DU to JNU”😛

      Yeah it is a long relishing ride in 621!

  5. I feel good, tanananana!

    “I have found songs playing in running vehicles to be extra musical.” Ditto! The Philippine jeepneys and buses always have ways to keep their passengers entertained.

    I want to visit Delhi, India someday.

  6. Delhi is amazing, I’ve been to the Red Fort, a few years ago (5 now). India is an amazing place, especially for someone from a quiet planned city in a developed country – I love that there’s so much to look at, smell, taste, people to talk to and smile at and watch. Despite the bad stuff.

  7. Great to be coming along with you in this little, delightful tour of Delhi. I could feel the rhythm if the city through your words – and you made me want to come and see for myself. Thanks for a very nice and spiritual read.

  8. “तिरछी नजरिया” पर “अंततः” कुछ हलचल है🙂, सोचा आपको सूचित करता चलूँ।

  9. I’ve read this post and re-read it..
    this has to be your finest work.
    Finally, after much juggling of big words and confused emotions on paper, i see coherent sentiments laid out in a Rangoli of Delhi’s everyday life..

    Amit sir, You have an admirer in me!

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