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Travelogue

Half A Day in Delhi.

8:30 P.M.// 10 MAY

I was about to spend half a day in the “Rape capital of India”, a name given to Delhi by my uncle with whom I was traveling this time. Having studied Political Science and History in high school I was quite familiar with the stories intertwined in this capital and, being active on Social Media I knew the disgusting side of it too, curious to have my own version of it, I started looking for what this city could offer me in half a day.

Accompanying my curious endeavor was a friend from Tripura who spoke of Delhi as if talking about a one-sided love and my young sister.  The events of the day ahead were kept a secret from us because he wanted the city to surprise us with its moods. We took the local transportation- the metro, to travel. Looking at the footfall I was taken back to the Mumbai local trains but this was surely more clean and systematic than that. The people were running around sipping coffee, collecting magazines to read on the 10 min journey because they hated wasting time.

Paul, my Delhi lover friend, started a conversation about the movie Rockstar in the metros, he started describing the locations where the movie was shot and told me that he loved where Kun Faya Kun was shot. I agreed because that place looked so mystic. 10 minutes later we were at that place, at the Dargah of HAZRAT NIZAMUDDIN AULIYA.

The smell of fresh meat and attar greeted me as I entered the crowded markets of the Dargah. The small chowk was filled with shops that sold beautiful Urdu calligraphy and old movie DVD’S. Everyone had their heads covered either with a topi or a scarf. I wondered how people would react if I entered the Dargah wearing the Muslim topi.

“Every wish comes true here” said Paul, sounding eager to make a wish.

“Do you believe in that saying?” I asked being captivated.

“Oh yes! That is why they always come true”

He walked away after saying this to find the wishing thread. I followed him to get a thread too although not really sure of what to wish. Asking someone for something makes us greedy is what I believe, then why would that god/Allah/divine etc even fulfill it. I took the thread anyways to the Dargah and saw letters written there in Urdu, Hindi, and English with emotions pouring out like rain from the dark clouds within them. I saw a lady clinging to the Jalli and sobbing. That is what religion should do, be hopes in their life when they can’t find them.

I was still wondering about my wish but I could not think of anything I ‘need’. Back in my hometown, I had a million things to over-think that caused a lot of confusions and conflicts but here I was just wondering about how lucky and grateful I am. So with a smile and a light heart, I spliced the thread with a thank you to whoever that was listening and walked away to sit and listen to the qawwalis.

“It is too hot here, let’s go” Paul said sounding uncomfortable.

“10 minutes please!” I reassured him.

A few seconds later a young girl with unusually pretty hair came to us with a smile and started fanning us with a paper fan for the next 10 minutes.

Wishes surely do come true here.

-Manasvi Shah.

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