Thursday, 11 November 2010

Footloose in Dilli

The inspiration first came from a friend. He wanted to be 'Footloose in Chandni Chowk'. That was late 2009. I was just out of my job and had started trekking the mountains. The urge to be in the mountains was too strong. The realization that winters are not the best time to be there had not quite dawned. He never went footloose. Neither did I. Almost exactly a year later, on Nov 1, 2010, as I was lying down on the upper berth of the Duronto Express from Delhi to Pune reading 'City of Djinns', the seed was sowed again. It started as a daydream. I fancied myself in William Fraser's big haveli, surrounded by his militia. Across the road was James Skinner's St. James Church near Kashmere Gate. The Yamuna was still following its original course and I could picture it flowing serenly below the majestic ramparts of the Red Fort. Lutyen's Delhi was nowhere to be seen.

Freshly out of the daydream, I dismissed it. What nonsense! How can this be done? A second later, why not? If I could start hiking afresh one year ago, why could I not start walking Delhi this winter. Before I had reached Pune, I had a plan. I would walk Delhi over the winter and also fulfill one of my longest standing dreams. That of learning a language. Turns out the language is Spanish. Quite why, I dont know. Dont ask either. It just is because I want it to be.

Come 17th November, as I get down from the return Duronto Express, I will head to a friend's place and share a flat with him for a few weeks. My parents will have to take the pains of couriering some essentials to me, including the camera and some winter clothing. 22nd November, I start the Basic Spanish course at Instituto Hispania for 5 weeks. The classes are Mon-Thu, 2-5 PM. Rest of the time, I will be walking. True to the footloose spirit, I dont have any specific plans. Just a few landmarks jotted down as starting points for any day. From then on, my feet will guide me till I find someone or something interesting. It could be a quaint shop and its keeper, a place to eat food or a forgotten, derelict monument. Whatever I manage to see is sure to find its way here.

If there are any other ideas you have about how I could get lost everyday, please feel free to let me know. If you are in Delhi and footlooseness appeals to you, please feel free to join in anyday. Dont expect anything. Just a walk from one place to another, often getting lost before its time to get home. Then, try to find the way out. If not, hire a cycle rickshaw and pedal away to glory. Remember, I am walking Dilli and not Delhi.


  1. Great start on first post... keep posting!

    Forrest Gump: That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd just run across Greenbow County. And I figured, since I run this far, maybe I'd just run across the great state of Alabama. And that's what I did. I ran clear across Alabama. For no particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going.

  2. @N - get your point partially. Is the :) for footloose or for Dilli? I would guess the latter but no harm checking.

  3. So will it be footloose in Dilli with or without GPS? A combination of a phone with GPS/ Google Maps/ Latitude and we could at least see where all you are roaming :)

  4. @Rahul - thanks for the idea. I am getting my GPS and camera tomorrow. So, expect to see maps and photos aplenty.