(New Year Special #2)
* Delhi can never be dry-cleaned of leering and peering young men. They will continue to stare at you from all nooks and crannies of the street, auto rickshaws and motorcycles. Always have your cell phone charged and be bright enough to ring up the police when required.
* Never venture out in strappy sandals in the month of August. There will be pits of mud lying in wait exclusively for you. While you are mesmerized by the crystal raindrops that fall, your feet will be down in a marsh, conversing with earthworms.
* Try to cut down on singing in the shower. There is only enough water in Delhi to get you your daily scrubbing. Asking the water to last through a song would be stretching it too far.
* Do not underestimate the power of exercise. People give up coaching classes and job shifts for a much-valued evening in the gym (or a mollycoddle session in the park). Learn to go out walking when you can. Saves up some petrol and diesel expense as well!
* If you are looking for a pet whose world revolves around you, get a nice doggie. Or maybe a horse, elephant or lamb. A cat may fool you with declarations of love only to achieve his purpose of parking himself on the cane chair.
* The next time street entertainment comes to your town, make it a point to attend it. A classic circus camping on the big field outside your house, college kids putting up a play on AIDS awareness, the like. (Street entertainment not to be confused with empty-stomached visits to Ramlila Maidan)
* Click pictures. Lots and lots of them. Must haves: a picture of the plants in your courtyard, the rising sun on a winter morning, birds on the terrace, billboards in your office street, intriguing signboards. Get people to gift you storage space on birthdays and anniversaries. Chances are you will never be bored with going through old clicks. Especially true of a time when you will be relaxing at home, after the rice-feeding ceremony of your grandson is done.
* Learn to be patient on the phone. Learn to write letters and e-mails. You never know when life will throw in your face a nasty little surprise and you have to stay away from all that means the most to you. The written word and shared conversations over the phone will then be your best mates. Make sure though, that the conversations aren’t with customer care people who sugar coat their mouthpieces. Also make sure (note to self) that you make conscious efforts to bridge the geographical barriers as soon as possible.
* People in Delhi have a wall-fixation. Every time they see a wall, several of them get this insurmountable desire to pee. And several others get an urge to park their automobiles right away. Never mind if the wall is plastered with pretty tiles or the gate has a no-parking board. When the urge comes, these people turn illiterate.
* Choose your media exposure cautiously. It is a dangerous world out there…one where bodyguards go on to make box-office history and Chamelis graduate from selling hair-oil to making the world dance to their Hindicized Marathi tunes. If you’re not choosy, you may end up getting thrashed on a Dhobi Ghat or forced to bathe in embarrassing chocolate.