Tales from the Road – I

Now I hadn’t meant no harm, I promise.  I just wanted to give a broad picture, but as soon as I said it, I knew ‘pat’ would come the response in self-defense, and sure it did.

It had been yet another disturbed night, spent worrying over a wallet in the loose track pockets, and a pair of sandals tucked away between the rucksacks beneath our berth. After six nights in the hills, this seventh one was spent on the berths of Ranikhet Express.

Having reached Old Delhi at 4:15 AM, we had an hour to kill before the metro doors would be thrown open, and the thought of indulging in laziness and hiring a rickshaw came invariably to us all.  It was Shashank though, who first voiced his lack of patience.

I of course, carrying the single point agenda of proving that I knew the city best, proposed that Vasant Kunj was way too far and we mustn’t even entertain the thought, forget consider it as an option. I promptly added only in order to give a clear picture to my Bangalorean friends, that Old Delhi to Vasant Kunj probably spanned a distance longer than the length of Bangalore itself. And I immediately knew I had asked for some trouble.  Shashank was quiet for a moment, but one could tell from the look on his face that his mind was groping, half hurt, half boiling with anger.

“You know why Bangalore is not as big?” he began, unable to keep vengeance from clinging to his voice, “Its because Bangalore is not a state, Delhi is a friggin’ state!”

Now of course, I couldn’t take that lying down could I?  I had to let him know that Delhi was still a city as well, and we were just going from one locality to another.

“No…” he said, “New Delhi is the city, our capital, Old Delhi is not part of it.”

“-of course it is”

“-of course it isn’t”

I hadn’t exactly prepared for legal battle when I had dared to compare the size of Delhi and Bangalore.  “We’ll check it up…” I said, and we both sat on, quiet, dejected, our prides visibly hurt, cursing each other under our breaths…


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