Saturday, 26 November 2011

Dilli Darshan

Once you know something is coming to an end, you tend to look back and think of the good times. Right now it’s time for me to move out of Delhi so here’s the stuff I did during my short stay here.

  1. Visit the animal farm. What did u expect I’d start MY list with? Of course the animal farm!! Friendicoes has a fabulous animal sanctuary outside Delhi (in Gurgaon actually). It houses over 600 dogs, as many as 100 cats. They even have horses, cows and donkeys. All the animals are rescued and cannot be rehabilitated. I stayed away from the cattle section because I have a weird fear of big animals with hooves and huge teeth. Ok, stop laughing already! The unique thing about the sanctuary is the love and care with which it is maintained. The dogs are segregated by personality! Yes! Who does that right? The staff identified the rowdy dogs, the timid ones, the fighters and the introverts and have kept the dogs apart in a way that they can live in peace and harmony. The overfriendly ones are kept together (be careful when you step amongst them, they’ll scrag you with happiness!) The cat shelter is so lovingly built – swings, baskets, toys…it’s truly heartwarming. The Wildlife SOS division has monkeys mostly, and some raptors. The raptor cage is the coolest because they’ve made it for soft releases. A part of the cage is open off the top so when the birds get better they can fly off as they please. Sometimes they don’t want to go too far because WSOS means easy food!! WSOS also hosts owls and other random wildlife that might be brought to them. The best part of this sanctuary is Sanjay Acharya. No, no, he’s not their prized display but he is the rescue centre in-charge. Sanjay is one of the most dedicated guys and animal welfare has gotten itself a real warrior here. I am NOT over exaggerating – you would not wanna be caught mistreating an animal when Sanjay is around. You’d probably get an arm or a leg broken. He’s totally into snakes and so if you don’t like animals - AVOID! 
  2. Friendicoes. Yes, the main shelter is below the Defence Colony flyover. There’s Goldie and Blackie and Metro amongst others  + some baby monkeys who make funny faces at you, attempt to bite your fingers and sleep holding each other. They also drool when asleep! Do donate food, blankets and newspaper when you go.
  3.  Hazrat Nizamuddin. This place is not famous without reason. There's something about here that feels like a fingertip stirring your soul. As you enter the crowded and poorly lit lanes you’ll be surrounded by beggars. Look beyond the squalor and you’ll see some incredibly generous people. There is an old guy whos pet ‘stray’ sleeps on his ragged sheet and shares his equally ragged blanket. As you go further down the lanes, you’ll pass so many shops selling some amazing food. One of my favorites has a waiter who loves singing ghazals while working and the water/firni counter is managed by a guy born and brought up in good ol’ Pune. Needless to say, the firni is AMAZING!! If you go all the way down the end, there’s a hole-in-the-wall plce which won awards in ’86, and still makes amazing kebabs n rotis. Avoid if you’re vegetarian. (duh!)
  4. Diamond Café, Pahargunj. This fabulous place makes personalized omelettes if you ask nicely. You can sit there for hours chatting with Kapil, who manages the jewellery store. Look out for Rajkumar and Satish, they’re the smiliest guys who serve there and have some great suggestions about the food. Shabeer runs the travel agency and is the one guy I swear by to dig out a vacant berth when it seems impossible. Be prepared for randomness when in this place! All kinds of people hang out here...  
  5. Knight Rider. For food and a chill ambience, you have to go to Knight Rider. It’s got really nice, friendly staff, and the barman makes the yummiest Kahlua shots. (It was a birthday mom!!) Not only is the food great, but it’s also relatively inexpensive. They also have the fattest mongrels in Delhi as pets. The DJ doesn't appreciate requests though lol!  
  6. India Gate. Nope I didn’t forget this one. Try being there post rush hour - maybe around 1 am. It’s beautifully lit up, and the silence actually gives you goose bumps as you strain your eyes to read the names carved on the gate. There’s a chotu chai guy who makes great tea (if you spot him). If you don't mind crowds feel free to go in the evening around sunset. The place is magnificent regardless of time. 
  7. Sky Lounge. If you want to hit a night spot, do check out this place. It’s not very big, but perfectly located high high high up in the sky. The dance floor is in the centre with big open galleries on either side. Killer view, and sometimes they put the sprinklers on in the gallery so girls, avoid your layers of makeup! Again, super efficient and friendly staff.
  8. Nizamuddin Station. Another hangout of mine coz of it’s proximity to my house. Midnight parathas with dollops of butter, hot chai and some silly dogs. Do you really need me to elaborate further?
  9. Markets. Most markets in Delhi are crowded enough to scare you away from shopping. Karol Bagh is mind boggling, Janpath is for rich foreign tourists, Khan Market is super posh, GK M-Block and South Ex markets are yuppie and Lajpat Nagar is impossible to navigate! There’s no dearth of malls, but I never really went to those!  
  10. Other places. There’s of course more touristy stuff that you can do. I checked out these places –
·        Indira Gandhi Memorial – she loved dogs.
·        Red Fort – DO NOT go for the sound and light show. It’s just plain stupid.
·        Akshardham – to experience some psychotic security checks at a temple, and opulence and extravance, do visit this place. Warning – no cameras, sleeveless, short clothes, visible tattoos, mobile phones or weird looking people allowed in there. The musical fountain show is great though. Check out pristine lawns and a LOT of open spaces. There's so much space that it made me wanna hook up some huge a** speakers and crank it UPPPPPPpppppp!! 
·        Lotus Temple – missed it this time but I remember a sense of peace sitting inside 10 years ago.
·        Dilli Haat – overrated!! Avoid if you are Indian and don't wanna be ripped off. One stall worth a dekko is one run by people with disabilities and sells recycled stuff. It's there only on weekends though.  

These are all the places I remember going to in the last four months. The rest are uninteresting or unmentionable! 

1 comment:

  1. I want to be scragged with happiness!!!!!