You don’t know Delhi until you have seen the core of its heart- the oddly famous Old Delhi or should I say Purani Dilli! Addressing the chaotic city as Purani Dilli fills up my heart with a sense of curiosity and adventure than to call it Old Delhi. I believe that’s the power of language that connects people to the said place and its stories more strongly.
Purani Dilli is a perfect example to witness what a city looks like when it thrives in its chaotic order. Each time as my wheels leave behind the urban set up of New Delhi and head towards Purani Dilli, I am transported into an age-old city as if the Fairy Godmother suddenly granted me my wish to witness the most beautiful and 7th city that makes up our very own Delhi. It doesn’t take a creative eye to notice the incredible gem like remnants of yesteryear havelis peeking out between the not-so-organized urban buildings of today. Just like these beautiful structures from Mughal era standing strong and defiant but silently amidst the never-ending paradigm shift in the neighborhood, the humans of this part of the city also seem to be relaxed, almost seeming lazy, in their own disorderly surroundings.
Every soul and each pair of eyes that I see here has a story to tell; tales of forgotten beauty given birth by poems, art, dance, music and design. It’s the friendly people here who open their homes and hearts and unknowingly make all of us experience a time bygone. What the civic authority hasn’t been able to preserve well enough, the inhabitants held on to it dearly.
Walking past the narrow lanes I wait to see the light at the end of the tunnel, just then it sparks its own magic and engulfs me into its own history. As they say, even walls have ears and rightly so when I lean on it closer, I can hear the murmur of the moments these walls have stood by.
Each visit to this cocoon of a city that was known as Shahjahanabad during its glory days instills in me a sense of realisation and acceptance of the different lives people lead across the world.
Every time I say goodbye to it I know I will miss the person I become in this mildly adventurous city that resides like a conjoined twin happily with the cosmopolitan city of New Delhi. As I start my car engine and my wheels take me back to the twin city, I await eagerly for my next adventure in the walled city of Shahjahanabad that once was.
Isn’t life a cycle of learning and unlearning to appreciate the little things it has to offer? Then why not do that on actual wheels! Come and have a ride of your life that surely will make you leave a piece of your heart here at Old Delhi, my Purani Dilli.
And the memories are yours to keep…