The national Capital is unrecognisably different from what it was three decades ago, when writer William Dalrymple came to the metropolis as a freshman in 1989 to sample the sights and sounds of India.
His book City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi, which was inspired by the colours of Delhi, will complete 20 years in 2012, and the author says the Capital has changed entirely. “It is unrecognisably different. It was an extensively Punjabi city in the 80s. People were still coming for jobs. But by the 90s, it was a proper Capital city,”he says.
“This is the city where the buzz is. Kolkata used to be a great intellectual centre (earlier), but all the publishers and writers are here in Delhi,” the author says. He adds that while Mumbai was earlier called a “hip place” even that mantle has now come to the Capital.
As Delhi celebrates its centenary, Dalrymple says he’s not considering re-writing the book with an eye at the changes. He says he still doens’t consider himself a pucca Delhiite. “I am a bit insider, a bit outsider, which is a useful thing for a writer to be,” he says.