This rhyming poem on Delhi was written for Hindustan Times ‘I Love Delhi’ contest in mid January 2007. HT did not declare any prizes (writing, painting or any other category) and kept quiet about it!
This is to tell you about Delhi city
the sum and substance, the real nitty-gritty.
And of course you’ll know why I love Delhi
despite the incivility, chaos and melee.
I’ll provide some glimpses – a poetic interlude
of Delhi’s loveliness, resilience, vicissitudes.
Naturally there’ll be some incidental fun
I speak my mind and will stick to my guns.
When you are new to this city
you dislike its crippled ability.
But when you spend some time around
It grows on you and love is found.
So, welcome to Delhi – City of your dreams
Elegant Cultured Classic Supreme.
A consummate city, indeed a decent place
Do fall in love. Hug it. Embrace.
Everyone in Delhi feels at home
Biharis, Malayalis or those from Asom.
It’s a city of the world, a true cosmopolitan
with a topping of excitement, thrill and fun!
Art, architecture, history, heritage ample
Lal Qila, Qutub Minar or the Lotus temple.
India gate for picnic or demonstration
and Rajghat for father of the nation.
It is modern Delhi with a traditional Delhi
the Lutyen’s Delhi with the old havelis.
Delhi is India typified – unity in diversity
which is so becoming for a capital city!
Dhabas, restaurants serving Mughalai, Tandoori
global cuisine or Paranthas, Bhel-Puri!
For shoppers too, Delhi is paradise
indeed for everyone – rich or otherwise!
Delhi’s lifeline are the Blue lines
which move as if running on wine!
Without a care, filled to the hilt
rude and rudderless, without any guilt!
And some DTC drivers’ motoring skills
rest on the Blue lines greasing their wheels!
And except the ‘meter’ all is fine with the auto
‘Athithi Devo Bhava’ was the ancient motto!
Live beam promised as you drop a hat
and on occasions like sealing and VAT.
Blame the government or curse the UPSC
for all your problems and of course secrecy!
Go to Jantar Mantar to air your grievances
or ride Sreedharan’s Metro making advances!
Join the opposition in blaming Shiela Dixit
Or join ‘Bhagidari’ if you want to fix it!
Delhi has a nonagenarian Khuswant Singh
who adds to it, some oomph and zing!
Of course with malice towards one and all
wine, women, uncensored, having a ball!
Delhi has so many party animals
the page three haute coutured nocturnals!
Few things here are beyond the pale
excluding Rohit Bal kissing another male!
Money and muscle were already involved
to top it all, devil’s advocate was called!
Amidst witnesses who fell like ninepins
Brave Bina Ramani spilled the beans!
To a chicken-hearted Munshi, Hindi was Greek
but it has boomeranged, so to speak!
And the city wants a Bharti to have her own mind
for ‘love is not love that alters when it alteration finds!’
And Delhi Police is not the ‘villain in uniform’
please recall how it took Hansie by storm!
If you ignore Jessica et al., corruption and bombs
the pot-bellied cops actually work with aplomb!
And IPS Kiran Bedi did so well
to give this city, India’s best jail.
Delhi Police buries its head in the sand
when she is at the helm, she will reprimand.
And came terror, bombs, high water or hail
the spirit of Diwali did prevail!
Forty thousand wedlocked in ‘one’ day!
‘Dilli Dilwalon ki,’ did you say?
So a city is not merely jungle – concrete
industries, flyovers or tree-lined streets!
When we delve deep the layers should unfold
and it must reveal a heart of gold.
Two arch-rivals who fought so wild
will soon have ‘metro now’ – their love child!
From daggers drawn to hand in glove
Pigs might fly when push comes to shove!
Schools, colleges, universities, institutions
Delhi is a mecca of education!
And Delhi’s child became the father of man
the day an MMS wildfire ran!
And for many, ‘call centres’ is a pet hate
thank God Delhi is not ‘the nanny state’!
And Delhi’s youth want to change the world
while Delhi’s old want to change the youth!
Yamuna is a river only in name
pollution, traffic, population – so untamed!
All the same Delhi is so green
with a CNG fleet and regulated polythene.
When variety is the spice of life
Delhi is the city for that ‘spiced up’ life!
it’s rich and variegated in every sphere
you just name it and it is there!
Yet, once in a blue moon, you may feel pity –
‘Delhi is a wilderness… God help this city!’
Powerless, waterless… Myriad woes
if only there were no thorns with the rose!
So I do understand Delhi is not heaven
neither the wonders – any of those seven
But that does not badly reflect
well I’m sorry – but nobody’s perfect!
One day the doctors may suggest this cure –
‘a week in Delhi, the remedy for sure!’
Surrender to this city making overtures
‘and there is no remedy for love but to love more!’
If I open my heart and lay bare
‘I love Delhi’ is inscribed everywhere!
‘The world is the body, Delhi is its soul’
Mirza Ghalib did rightly extol!
You may also see love letter to Delhi!