If you ask someone from your grandparents’ generation where they “hung out” when they went to Delhi University (DU), you’d probably get a puzzled look in response. Hang out? Most of them struggled to make ends meet in college — and bar the occasional trip to Connaught Place for lunch entertainment consisted largely of trying to bribe the kitchen staff to make you an extra pot of tea.
Their children were more ambitious though, exploring the coffee house near the vice-chancellor’s office, Tibetan Colony, Kamla Nagar and, of course, CP, where it was fashionable to go in circles without ever actually entering an eating joint. On some days one might venture up to Triveni Kala Sangam, to sit in the lawns or its open-air café and soak in the arty ambience.
But today’s generation, thanks to the much-worshipped Metro train, has gone much farther, as far as Rajouri Garden. South Campus students prefer areas such as M-Block Market in Greater Kailash-1, which is great for buying cheap pajamas and T-shirts, Basant Lok, famous for Priya cinema, and tucked away in a corner among the hustle and bustle, Satya Niketan, where students of Sri Venkateswara College and Motilal Nehru go for a quick roll between classes, and the SDA Market opposite IIT to just sit and relax after bunking classes.
North Campus too is venturing beyond its comfort zone, Kamla Nagar and Arts Faculty, traveling more frequently to places like CP and Khan Market for that much sought after session of ‘chilling’. Closer-by areas like Kamla Nagar remain popular, consisting of many places to shop and several eating joints, among which the most popular is a little cluster of restaurants selling Chinese and Tibetan food at reasonable prices, giving Majnu ka Tila a run for its money.
The Ridge is somewhat less frequented though beautiful with its lush green forests and quiet surroundings. It contains a little heard-of war memorial, largely deserted but an excellent place to be in rainy days.
While college lawns and areas nearby are popular for brief cool-offs, for the big chill one must head to, well, Big Chill in Khan Market (or to Khan Chacha’s, if your pocket is feeling the heat), or better still to the air-conditioned Rajouri Mall or PVR Naraina, easily accessible by the air-conditioned Metro service.
Even venturing as far as South Extension or Citywalk is not unheard of. Gone are the days when students jostled in crowded buses or haggled with unreasonable autowallahs to get to South or Central Delhi. Along with Metro trains, hanging out has really arrived.