About Udita Banerjee

Poetess, Traveller, Thinker

Top 5 things I will miss about Delhi

I’m all set to go to Edinburgh and begin my course, this time next week, I will have reached. I have no idea how my life will fit into two suitcases, but I hope to figure out soon. So here we go about the top 5 things I will miss about Delhi (I have been here for 2 yrs 8 months now), in order of increasing importance…

Number 5

The Delhi charm! The city. The absolute bling that only Delhi can be, from the sparkling choodas on most Punjabi hands to the absolute disregard for any kind of rule or law. The red light jumping, the not-free left taking, the rickshaw, the auto, and in general the complete madness!

Number 4

My workplace… at STMicroelectronics. It was almost always good, sometimes nasty, but it has been a helluva ride. I have learnt and taught others; I have faltered and succeeded, and it was very hard to leave behind the long saga of the reason I ended up in Delhi.

The Sexy Campus!

Number 3

The Noida-Greater Noida Expressway. My daily commute to work, oh what a gorgeous road. I loved the rolling fields in the monsoons and the way we used to peer along at 40 kmph in the winter fog. I will miss the long conversations with V and the McD breakfast on the go. The winding roads, nostalgia…

On a crisp January morning

Number 2

My lovely lovely home, where I put up for but 10 months. It was the nicest place I have stayed in so far. I had my books, my clothes, a beautiful space, and a very comfortable room in a flat. It has been one of the few places I have lived in that I can imagine staying in for years together, cozy and snug.

Number 1

K. My love, my flatmate, my soul sister. She is my twin from a parallel universe. We think alike, we talk alike, we read each other’s minds. We say the same things together, invariably, always. K has been a rock solid support, a brilliant friend, a caring flatmate, and basically the awesomest person ever! If there was anything that would’ve kept me in India, it was her.

U & K

Enchanted by…

Yes, Yes, I know… we have gone missing. Nope, we are not shutting shop, I assure you. Nor have we run out of things to write about… In fact, quite the opposite (too much happening with all three of us) has kept us from Cheesecaking…

Taking it up from where we left you, good readers, Susanna’s left 😦 and that has been very sad indeed. However, she will soon tell you what all EXCITEMENTS have been up with her. Maegan, you say? Ah… I can’t tell you, I can’t 😉

You’ll have to watch this space for when M posts, for it shall be a lot of news!

I for my part, lost two grandparents (of opposite sides), within two weeks of one another. I have been sad, yes. But… wait… hold your breath… I’m leaving Delhi!

Yes!

I’m leaving behind family and familiarity, heat and fog, and a much loved job. And going to  Edinburgh!

Oh wait a minute again… yes, that’s where S is from, but she shall be in China, of course. If you’ve followed the topsy-turviness of these events, I shall tell you more…

I will be doing a Masters course in Electronics at the University of Edinburgh. I will be there for a year, at least. I leave Delhi in September, for the first time in my life, on an international trip. Scotland will be everything that Delhi is not, snowy, quiet, disciplined, slow, and Scottish! I need to buy winterwear and boots! I’m looking forward to this so badly, it will be such an exciting adventure! And since, I never thought much of India anyway, it will be a welcome respite. I hope to be Enchanted by Edinburgh…

The University of Edinburgh

Doesn’t the facade look absolutely breathtaking? Isn’t it so perfectly beautiful? So yes, I will be hogging cheesecake in Edinburgh.

But wait, did S say ‘not the only one?’ or maybe ‘not the only ones?’ Hmmm.

Nightlife! – Part I

My cool take on the hot-spots of the Delhi Nightlife, in no particular order…

1. Capitol (Hotel Ashok)

This is one of my favourite places to party. The club opens up at about 11 and the crowd picks up only at midnight. There is hardly any place to move by 2 AM. The dress code is formal, so most men are well-dressed. It is a good place to go dancing, when in a large group because then one can reserve a table. The music, experience tells me, depends upon the mood of the DJ. So, one can expect to hear quite a variety of genres on any given night. The only downside is the entry fee of Rs 2000, but the club has the concept of guest list (where someone who knows someone who knows someone at the club gets the names on to a list)!

Prices: Expensive

2. Cafe Morrison (South Extension)

The music is the best part about this lounge. There is brilliant hard rock, soft rock, a bit of trance, and some country. Most women here are totally dolled up, so if one decides to end up here on a whim, then women might feel self-conscious. The dance floor is small, sort of like an aisle between the bar counter and the wall. So, when it’s crowded it is irritating. Best to reserve a table. These guys open relatively early in the evening and it’s a brilliant place for an evening of great music.

Prices: Inexpensive

3. Flluid (Mosaic)

This one’s in Noida. At the moment, it is closed for renovation. There was a time a year ago when I would be found here at least twice a week! It is an all time favourite place. The food is great (order from the Latitude menu). The music is okay-ish, they play all the popular tracks of all time. The service is remarkable; all the staff is very courteous and friendly. This too, is a lounge, so open from 6 PM (I think) to 1 AM. By usual Noida standards, I think the most educated and polished hang out here.

Prices: Membership for me :), mid-range otherwise

We love to play with electricity!

4. F-Bar (Hotel Ashok)

Dress code is strictly formal, men in sports shoes aren’t allowed in. This place is right next to Capitol. It is the most most expensive place ever. Reputedly, the richest in Delhi go dancing here, which means neither the suave or the polished. The music is decent, not great, the sort of crowd that goes with weird music. I wouldn’t recommend it, it ain’t worth the money.

Prices: Super expensive!

5. Reverb (GIP)

Again a lounge, again in Noida. This place also shuts down by 1 AM. If one wants to tap feet to a good collection of Bollywood and Punjabi, this is the place. The crowd consists of mostly college people, the kind of dresses one sees are casual to semi-formal. The bouncers are surprisingly robust and this is a good party place with friends.

Prices: Inexpensive

Price ranges (per person, including entry if applicable):
Inexpensive: Rs 1000 – Rs 1500
Mid-range: Rs 2000 – Rs 3000
Expensive: Rs 4000 – Rs 6000
Super expensive: Rs 9000 – Rs 15000

Beautiful Birthday Update

I, the littlest of the Cheesecake girls, celebrated my Birthday this month. Even aside from the fact that February is my Birthday month, it really is the most gorgeous time to be in Delhi. We met at the Rajiv Chowk metro station for the first Birthday of the year. S knew that I wouldn’t have the slightest notion of a plan, so she had the perfect one ready. We headed to The Triveni Kala Sangam, an artsy place of glorious sunshine. Close to Mandi House, this seemed to be a place that holds frequent art exhibitions. It had beautiful flowering trees and by Central Delhi standards, an immense amount of open space. There was a quaint amphitheatre around which we lazed around, toasting in the warmth. Noelle and Mirta joined us and I felt very little and very brown indeed!

M and S, my lovely darlings, gifted me earring and a book (! Ain’t that the best present ever!) and we ordered these massive paranthas, lots of chutney, and cups of coffee/chai. It was the laziest Saturday Birthday and I wouldn’t have been happier 🙂

We then headed, again on S’s recommendation, to Bonsai café in CP. Here we had deep talks of life and times and perspective, of dating Indians and not dating them, of marriage and of S moving away soon. It was beautiful. Enough said!

PS: Sadly, but predictably, I was too full after the paranthas for cake; but M did have a carrot cake and approve.

Yakmina!

Those that have been regular readers of this blog have known my disappointment about finding Majnu ka Tilla closed the first time I went to visit. We’ve been planning another visit ever since and this time, the Cheesecake trio was bang on target! We were very ambitious, as the plan was to have breakfast, head towards Sarojini Nagar market, and then go all the way northwards to have me visit MkT.

So, after a lovely brunch of M-made Poha, we auto-ed down to Sarojini. Sunday winter afternoon frenzy had begun by the time we got there. In between trying to fix a toaster that didn’t need fixing and shopping for ridiculously cheap clothes, I managed to find myself a beautiful set of teacups from this crockery shop.

We reached MkT in the late afternoon. For those still unacquainted with the place, it is a Tibetan colony/market near the north campus of DU. There are narrow alleyways lined with “Free Tibet” posters and crammed with shops that sell incense to silver jewellery and silk fabrics to Yakmina! S and I got shawls made out of 100% Yak’s wool, making them heavier and bigger than the Pashminas we’re used to. How exciting, we thought! Cake and coffee followed, as we made ourselves cozy in a cafe in one corner of the market. The ambience of the place is very similar to North-eastern India, it’s not like being in the heart of Delhi at all. Even the kind of music that played in the eateries here is different. Another cafe that we stopped at had pictures of ‘Tintin in Tibet’ framed on their walls! We (over)stuffed ourselves with delicious chowmein/flat noodles/thukpa. It is indeed, as I had been told, a charming place…

A very satisfying day, I mused, on my metro ride back, laden with teacups and a massive shawl, and a present for V. Never a dull moment with my Cheesecake girlies…

Late Lies the Wintry Sun A-bed…

The cheesecake girls met up for the last time this year. The initial plan of having me visit the ‘inexpensive-but-awesome’ Majnu ka Tila was thwarted because the market was closed. Both M & S claimed vehemently that they’d never heard of the entire place shut down, but it seemed it was so because of some Dalai Lama event or another. Disappointed! Not completely though, for we did manage to catch a good look of Susanna’s favorite ‘Big Black Boar (Pig)’ from the rickshaw!

The three of us scratched our heads and unanimously agreed that the next best way to honor the ‘tradition’ was to head to Big Chill in Khan and have (yes, you got it!) more decadent cheesecake. Dreamy eyed damsels then couldn’t wait for a long metro ride and autorickshaw-ed instead! Having gotten ourselves to Khan, we scooted over. We write (and hence, advertize) so much about the place that we ought to be given a table right away, but sadly, that’s yet to happen. The good old 15 – 20 min wait later, we quickly ordered a salad (which had so many ‘leaves’ that it made me feel like a cow, frankly) and a pasta. We took care to not order too much because we had to do justice to desert, no?

And then, the cakes… the combination of the brown and the white (much like the three of us) that we attacked and M rightly put it when she said ‘This double chocolate thing looks manageable every time, but it defeats me in the end!’ We did finish both between the three of us and felt very beautiful indeed 🙂

The conversations were warm, the breeze crisp, and the cakes smooth… over cheesecake it began and with it, this year ended. It was a gorgeous Delhi December evening and three very full females skipped (yes, cakes do make us that happy) over to The Body Shop to do what we do every time (another post for that).

Veni, Vidi, Vici !

What M hasn’t been telling you in the previous post is that she’s brave. She has been bravely living in a lot of difficult-to-live-in place lately, the kind of place I could never have imagined existed. But I agree, her new place is awesome.

I, on the other hand, haven’t been a ‘nester’; instead a ‘move’-er all my life. Yet I still find it extremely difficult to set up a home just anywhere. I have to have a proper place to stay in. It has to conform to my standards of how I want to live. Also, I’m deeply sentimental about my surroundings and belongings. Thus, any thought of moving promptly has me wondering if my walls will miss me or if my clothes will like their new cupboard. I am terrible at discarding old things. I carry all of them stupid, silly things (from fair tickets to coffee receipts) along with me. They’re all memories, although reminiscent of Rebeca’s bag of bones, I’m afraid (Rebeca from One Hundred Years of Solitude)!

A long chain of not very pleasant discussions led to me having to move out of my very nice and caring landlady’s beautiful room (and a massive, luxurious bathroom) last month. And thus, house-hunting began.

I looked at one house.

I spoke to one girl (who I’d never met before).

I finalized the place. Period.

Easy.

I guess I am lucky with finding places. I just am very unlucky that I have to try and stop thinking about my previous bed, my previous fan, or some other such thing.

The new place is bigger and lovely. The new girl in my life (we shall refer to her as K) is lovely too. She was a blessing in the tiresome period when I was agonizing constantly about shifting and my massive amount of luggage. These past few days have been exciting, independent, and comfortable enough. I’m glad I’m snug before winter drops all over us. I’m sure my walls don’t miss me and my clothes are definitely happy. As always, V has been the rock of strength and the hammer to drive many nails home!

Looks like we have two cheesecake parties lined up!