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In a Delhi home this evening, there’s a girl debating whether or not to open the door which has been knocked upon for the zillionth time in a week. In the constant flurry of people – helpful neighbours, laundry-delivery, flower-men, decorators – she takes a moment to breathe and document the madness. Getting married is a marathon task.

The wedding season has already seen Delhi grapple with traffic jams that daily set new world records for being menacing and indomitable. The markets have been abuzz with haggling crowds and stubborn shopkeepers peddling sarees, lehangas and jewellery. The amount of money that is being spent is insane. There remains the constant anxiety of being sure everyone has been duly invited, all loose ends have been tied, and no feelings have been hurt. Amidst this craziness, they absurdly expect the bride to look like a million bucks.

I am being told to take rest, sleep and eat. Indeed, they have queued up no less than four lunch events in the week before the wedding. I intend to invest in some digestive potion and refuse second helpings of everything, no matter how insistent. If anyone is willing to share the food and take some load of niceties off my tired shoulders, I am only a shout away. On a serious note, however, I plan to utilise whatever time I now have available to sleep, take deep breaths and try and be at peace.

The next time we meet, “Saddi Delhi” will have moved back to “Of Paneer, Pulao and Pune”. Choley bhature will transform into pau bhaji, Lajpat Nagar into F.C. Road, rush hour in the Delhi Metro to morning chill in Pune. R and I will be man and wife and I will write from a desk in our home together. I promise to share all the madness of the wedding as soon as I find myself some quiet and peace.

Until then.

A Loaded Morning

I woke up this morning to a distinct feeling of déjà vu, probably brought on by the familiar strands of music from the window and the aroma of freshly baked buns at Good Luck Café, Pune. This is my last stop at Pune before the wedding and we are here to shop for furniture for the new flat which will be the first house R and I move into as a married couple (*jumps*). I feel more grown-up than before, and yet an absolute child when it comes to gazing at bright upholstery, home décor and colourful cushions.

Pune has always been close to heart, as those who were here when “Saddi Delhi” was “Of Paneer, Pulao and Pune” will vouch for. Come March, we will move again to the city of delectable German Bakery cookies, impressive Crossword bookstores, and breath-taking hills and beaches within weekend-getaway distance.

There is anticipation in the air today, as well as trepidation, when I realize that this Monday is only the first in several that I will be waking up to in Pune – not as a student or a singles-club professional, but as a married woman who still needs to learn to cook and tie a sari properly. This is more serious thinking than the beautiful morning allows. I think I will instead order for coffee, sit by the window, and admire the azure sky so full of promise and poetry.

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The Things we do for Love

It was plain bad luck that he was contemplating this barely a fortnight before Valentine’s Day, but come to think of it, he had felt it coming for a while.

He quickly glanced outside the window of the flat he had shared with his bride for six months now, and caught sight of their old, rather unfriendly neighbour staring suspiciously, a torch in his left hand and a cellphone in the other.

The only dustbin the flat had was in the kitchen and if truth be told, it was rather gruesome even by his own villainous standards, to visualise the chopping into tiny pieces; he was no accomplished criminal.

It wouldn’t be long before either the neighbour or the smell gave him away, and on second thoughts, the whole impulsive plan started to seem a bad idea.

Minutes later, he sat across the table from his cheerful wife, smilingly gulping down the horrible food that he had been unsuccessful in disposing of, and whose true character he hadn’t the heart to disclose.

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Five Sentence Fiction

Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week, Lillie McFerrin posts a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate can write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in the five sentences, and is just for direction. This week: VILLAINOUS.

Now every Friday on Saddi Delhi.

Rituals at Lajpat Nagar

Central Market

*Picture from

It was a ritual of sorts. They couldn’t return from Lajpat Nagar without a chocolate ice-cream and a pair of earrings. “How many earrings does your shop now have?” Onlookers and neighbours who came to visit them would often ask, putting on mock-serious faces. That was when she decided to keep an inventory though nothing could tempt her to let her possessions out on rent.

Mom was always a swift shopper and would stack her bags with whatever she needed – items from a neatly prepared to-buy listbefore her companions had even got started. The crowded open-format market had stores to appeal to all sensibilities. However, the crowd was sometimes too much to accommodate dilly dallying from people like her aunt from Assam who took an hour to select a cushion cover for her drawing room. The aunt would finally decide to buy an umbrella instead.

Lajpat Nagar competed with Sarojini Nagar, Janpath and Chandni Chowk as a market for well, everything. They always ended up choosing it over the other, more romantic and oh-so-old-Delhi options. As far as she was concerned, the ice-cream had turned more delicious with time and the market offered her abundant stock for her earrings shop. There was little reason to look beyond Central Market, as Lajpat Nagar was also called by the more anglicised friends of hers.

They told her Mom could not go along to Lajpat Nagar as often anymore; she wasn’t in town. But when she wandered along the alleyways on her own, now grown up enough to go without company, Mom whispered into her ears unseeingly and gave her tips on the newest designs of earrings. She then went ahead with the ritual in record time. She had grown up to be as swift a shopper as Mom.

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Dilwaalon Ki Dilli

For all the badmouthing that Delhi receives, there lies herein undying charm. Every Wednesday, find on Saddi Delhi a fresh story from life in the capital. Right from delicious food in Delhi’s alleyways to dreamy winters that paint the skies white.

For a tour through Delhi, from then and now, click here.

Welcome, February

If I listen well, I can still hear the New Year countdown that brought in 2015. But if I look around, I see empty pizza boxes that have now, quite literally, gone to the dogs, and the carcasses of resolutions that are rotting in the faint winter sun. The calendar tells me we are already a month into this not-so-new year, and February, the herald of spring, is here with all its romantic charms.

This is the month of my wedding, that great Indian festival which all families, especially ones with daughters, anticipate with mixed emotions. While this is the moment that R and I have been talking about and planning for several years now, I will admit it is unnerving (and packed with frantic activity) that the day is close enough now to run a count on my fingers.

When I look around into the Delhi evening, the red sunset is simultaneously reminiscent of the carefree years of my childhood, and packed with the promise of new beginnings. It is a glorious sunset and I stand admiring it for many long moments, accompanied only by the breeze as carefree as my childhood.

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Microblog Mondays


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