On a cloudy morning in early March, Abhay Rajput is feeling nostalgic about the Delhi that was. Not the Delhi of empty streets and tonga rides, but the Delhi that had no metro.
All of 10, Rajput speaks with a calm confidence about the transformation of the city he has seen in his lifetime. “I remember when there was no metro and the day when the services began,” said this student of Class III-C of the Indian School and a resident of Sarita Vihar in south Delhi.
Rajput is one of the many students of the school who have written to Hindustan Times after reading the New Delhi 100 series.
Unlike most of our other readers who recount how south Delhi was a forest where residents feared to tread in the night and bus rides costed four annas when they were children, these children have written about the Delhi they know and love.
Eight-year-old Shiv Gupta, who has sent us ‘the story of my life’, is simply kicked about the fact that he lives in the same city where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also lives.
Despite all the criticism it received on different fronts, Aravind P Ashok (8) simply loved the Commonwealth Games. Though he couldn’t watch the Games live, he enjoyed it on television.
“I really like the wide roads in Delhi and am just itching to drive my father’s car as soon as I can,” said Aravind, whose family moved to New Delhi’s Netaji Nagar from Kerala.
The school had organised a special programme on Delhi last year to acquaint its students with the city they live in. “We asked all students to write about the story of their lives and they all identified with it,” said Neelima Sharma, the school’s English teacher.
“We also gave them the articles published by Hindustan Times as part of the New Delhi 100 series and asked them to read it,” she said. None of the students knew that New Delhi was not always the capital of India and only received the honour in 1911 after the proclamation at the Delhi Durbar.
While all the boys love the city’s wide roads, metro and public transport facilities, Pranika Vohra (8) of Sainik Farms in south Delhi loves its monuments. “I love going to Red Fort and Qutab Minar on weekends,” she said.