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Beyond south

Exploring the nooks and corners of Delhi through the red, blue, violet, yellow, orange and green lines of Delhi Metro.

entertainment Updated: Nov 22, 2010 15:26 IST
Aakriti Sawhney

Having lived in South Extension-I for seven years, the exciting world of south Delhi is a part and parcel of my life. But I have heard that there are malls in north-west Delhi too. This week, I took the Metro to explore it. One confession: if there was no Metro, I would have never travelled so far.

It’s very far
It took me 19 stations and a change of one line (from yellow to red at Kashmere Gate) to reach Netaji Subhash Place in Pitampura. It was amazing to discover that there was so much buzz around this side of Delhi. The moment I got off the Metro, I saw tall buildings and towers, along with wide spaces, just as what Gurgaon used to be a few years ago. With its bookshop, pharmacy and an ATM counter, the station too looked business-like.

As I came down via the escalator, my first sight was that of college students sitting on the pavement. Some were chatting, and others were tapping away on their laptops. Guru Gobind Singh College of Commerce is five minutes away. Two popular American fast food joints were strategically located just outside the station. Very convenient if you, like me, have been starving, all the way from INA.

The familiar landmark
The next sight was… well, it’s also there in south Delhi, Dilli Haat — an art, craft and food bazaar with stalls from different Indian states. It was my first rendezvous with the Dilli Haat of the west. And boy, it was an exact replica of the old one. But where were the people? As a South Ex-ite, I cross the Dilli Haat twice a day and the bheedh (crowd) here was nothing compared to the one in INA. Spread over six acres, this Haat has 108 stalls as compared to the 166 of the purana Haat. “Come on a weekend,” said Rattan Singh, the Haat’s manager. “Then, it’s crowded.”

A half-hour long snooping followed. The Andhra Pradesh stall was selling “authentic” tomato pickle, which I have never seen in the older Dilli Haat. Once, a friend got such a pickle from Hyderabad. Tasting a little pungent, and very hot, it goes well with plain boiled rice. The stall-owner forced me to buy the mutton masala. “Madam, just add it to boiled mutton and see the magic. We have customers coming again and again for it.” I still have to cook the curry.

Another discovery that I made here were the winter shoes (R 170 each) at Stall No. 2. Handmade with woollen fabric in bright colours, they had a very Ladakhi look to them.

With the mall rats
As it was getting dark, I slipped into the brightly-lit commercial arcade across the road. I haven’t explored much of the west and had only heard of Rajouri Garden malls but this place did look like its flashiest best. Two big malls, more than a dozen office towers and eateries everywhere.

I stepped into BTW — aka Bitto Tikki wala. Seeing the crowd there, I realised why a friend swears by this shop (she actually takes the Metro all the way here to have these tikkis). “We fry our tikkis in olive oil,” said Mohinder Rawat, the cashier. But why BTW? “The Americans have BMW, we have BTW.” By the way, that’s as pretentious as south Delhi.

Heard in the metro
Peechhe niklo bhaiya, peeche niklo (Go back, bro. Go back). This is ladies compartment.
Pick pockets have been identified
Beta, please adjust
Damn, somebody farted
Maal hai yaar!

Reading in the Metro
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- It’s the seventh and final of the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling.
Eat Pray Love- This novel by Elizabeth Gilbert was adapted into a Hollywood film starring Julia Roberts

Music in the Metro
Munni badnam hui (Dabangg)
Zor ka Jhatka (Action Replayy)
Jai Jai Sai Ram (Bhajan)
Chiggy wiggy (Blue)

Metro diary:
Cheers for the ladies
The other day while in the Metro, I was overjoyed to see the reserved coupe for ladies. Yes, women need a space somewhere... so why not gift them a whole coupe to cherish and enjoy their moments of freedom from any boundaries and restrictions? From their birth till death, women compromise in everything. Whether it is clothes, toys or school as some parents differentiate girls from boys and send their girls to government schools and boys to public schools. Let the women enjoy atleast a coupe of their own...!
-Anuj Dehran, a Metro commuter

Metro elsewhere:
Kolkata Metro
It was the first underground railway in India. The first operations commenced in October 1984
Its coaches are yellow in colour. The new ones, plying above the ground, are air-conditioned
It extends over a length of 22 kms (23 stations)
The Metro has reserved seats for ladies but no exlusive coaches. Each train has 8 coaches
Tickets start at Rs 4 with the highest being Rs 12

Metro Destinations
Netaji Subhash Place