I am writing this at The Market Cafe, in Khan Market. It’s not yet so cold in Delhi that you need to bundle up, but the sharp sunshine is dulling into soft gold, not hot, but warm-ish, the kind you stretch your neck out into, the kind that is good for sitting just a little while, lingering over coffee. I can still order cold coffee, though, it’s not quite yet the weather where your body craves only warm things. In fact, I’m sipping my cold coffee right now, exceptionally nice coffee, which is a good thing to remember for future reference.
Delhi during my favourite time of the year. What a perfect time to pick to move back, say my friends, and I smirk, like the idea’s entirely original. Delhi during the early winter is the kind of city you show off, proudly. Look, look, what I have. Don’t you wish you had it too? We are proud of our city bathed in winter mist, we’re proud that we can have New York style, but not New York coldness, we are proud of the monuments that pop out every now and then, and proud of our people, because everyone’s in a better mood during the winter. Notice how easily I slip back into ‘we’ and ‘our’. Does anything ever change? Yes, some things do, I find myself unable to navigate the streets anymore. Often, I look up, and I’m confused about what neighbourhood I’m in, how I’ll get home from here. Apparently, my mind only has space for one map at a time, and right now, that map is Bombay. I search everywhere for the Bandra I’ve left behind, and Khan Market is almost the perfect substitute. For example, no one blinks an eyelid at the way I’m dressed (which, okay, it’s cold. I’m fairly conservative today), or if I light a cigarette. Also, I appear to be the only Indian person here. Except now, my Works From Home Companion, Nayantara, has shown up and we are all cosmopolitan, with our laptops and our typing and our Mexican food.
My little apartment, that I have christened The Hole In The Wall, is also shaping up quite well. When I began to live there, it was spartan. No joke. I had a mattress and a mat, an old fridge and that’s about it. Luckily, I had the presence of mind to pack my coffee machine in my suitcase, because that is one luxury I cannot do without. Also, my cat. Poor old TC. He’s never faced so much excitement in all his young life. First, I shoved a sedative down his throat, bundled him into his carrier and flew him to Delhi. I felt terrible, especially because of the looks he kept giving me, but what was I to do? People kept asking me as I left, “What are you going to do with your cat?” which I thought was quite a weird question. Uh, take him with me? And then, their looks of surprised admiration and pleasure! The fact that people are surprised that you choose to carry on being with your pet. He’s not a fridge, or an old outfit. He’s mine and I’m his, and together, we’re partners. Why would anyone get an animal if it’s a just for now thing? Unless you can assure yourself that your pet will go to someone who loves them just as much as you do, I think it’s very selfish to just dump them when it’s inconvenient for you.
Now, I’ve shifted locations. Khan Market on the whole seems to be having some trouble with their wi fi connections. Lucky for me, as of this morning, I have Tata Photon +, which so far, I’m super impressed by. Unlimited, they’ve promised me, with no hidden costs. It sounds too good to be true, so I’m just going to wait and watch. Back to TC. He’s now fully recovered from his move and struts around The Hole In The Wall, much like he used to strut in my old apartment. It is his, this apartment, and he knows it. Only, it may not justify the Hole In The Wall tag for much longer. My mum and I have gone a little bit crazy decorating. The mattress on the floor has been replaced by a queen sized bed with an eight inch thick mattress. It’s beautiful, my bed. It’s wrought iron, which I had painted white, and the mattress alone made me sleep the sleep of the innocent for close to twelve hours last night. A bed makes all the difference. That, and the internet. A mirror followed soon after (all these the spoils of the cheap furniture markets in Panchkuian Road and Amar Colony), it’s zig zag and retro funky and full length, painted pillar box red, a colour I love. A smaller mirror, distressed green with flowers painted on is in what I’m going to call the living room/study, along with a couple of floor cushions from Fab India. I also got some new light fixtures (the place just had some bulbs, sticking out of the wall) from Fab India, one blue denim, the other yellow paper with flowers. Tonight, a set of small armchairs arrive, done in Chinese-y looking fabric, green and gold, to match a collapsible antique Chinese chest which will be here next week and will serve as a coffee table/seating/storage space. All this bounty for under Rs 20,000. Empty apartments are depressing at first, but SO much fun to work with!
Clearly, I have a lot more to say, but I’m not going to inflict it all upon you at the same time. Let this be the first of many instalments, now with my internet up and running again, I have no excuses.