Inside the Central Sikh Museum in Amritsar, Punjab.
Second image: The portraits of Sikh scholars, saints, religious, social and political personalities.
Third image: Painting depicting Ahmed Shah Durrani ordering Harmandir Sahib (The Golden Temple) to be demolished by cannons. (1762)
Fourth image: Painting depicting Bhai Dayala ji being boiled alive by Mughals in Chandni Chowk, Delhi in order to terrorize Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji. (1575)
Fifth image: Portrait of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and the destroyed Golden Temple after Operation Blue star, a military operation carried by Indian military in 1984 on the order of Indira Gandhi, then the Prime Minister of India. The operation led to the deaths of hundreds of innocent Sikh civilians.
The ceiling inside Chandni Chowk metro station, Delhi. I lived in London for over 10 years and am well used to crowded underground stations, the Delhi ones are busy, but because of their size they don’t feel as cramped and claustrophobic as the London tube…people seemed equally as rude though, lol.
A trip to the legendary Parathe-wali Gali in Old Delhi
Gali Paranthe Wali or Paranthe wali Gali, (literally “the bylane of fried bread”) is the name of a narrow street in the Chandni Chowk area of Delhi, noted for its series of shops selling paratha, a fried Indian bread, and now a popular culinary destination.
The food is old fashioned, strictly vegetarian, and cooked dishes do not include onion or garlic, since the owners are Brahmins, and traditionally their clientale has included Jains in the neighborhood. Varieties include exotic fillings like Kaju, Badam, Matar, Mix Paranthas, rabri parantha etc.
This small by-lane in the middle of Chandni Chowk has surprisingly a big VIP clientle too and the evidence of this can be found in the paratha shops with photos on the walls, waiters serving to the likes of Pandit jawaher lal nehru and indira gandhi.
Delhi-Gurgaon-Res Same Ob Nov 21, 2014 Fri 9:48 pm
Goa comes to and end and the next makes a start .. up and early to travel and settle in with fresh surroundings and rooms and people and environs ..
The next is also home .. New Delhi .. those early impressions of the city coming by road for the first time from Allahabad in 1954 .. my Mother drove all the way by herself alone with the two of us brothers at the back squeezed in among the luggage, in a Ford Prefect, a small first car of the family, navy blue in color, kept pristine and washed and shined each morning by us, more me than us .. it was like a pride .. like those new pair of shoes that you got after years .. parents unable to buy us new due financial constraints .. we slept with them under our pillow at night .. they were so precious ..
The feel of a metropolis is so wide eyed wonder .. those that have experienced it for the first time shall truly be able to understand .. so when the contestants from smaller towns and rural regions come on the hot seat on KBC and express their amazement - the flight, the city, the Hotel, the people the buzz .. we are at times unaware of what it feels like .. but be with me, a small town inhabitant and see for yourself the disbelief ..
My Mother .. her zeal her strength, her never say die attitude, her optimism, her prayers .. all through the day and night that she drove bravely, all we heard from her was the Japji Saheb da Paath from the Granth Sahib .. and in her usual gift of living life in joy and adventure and happiness, the first stop had to be in Daryaganj as we drove in, to stop and eat .. she knew the best eateries, and the eateries knew her .. even today on the odd occasion in the house in Mumbai, the sweet meat store, that little wayside cabin that served the best coffee to her as she took her evening drive each day, the owners come by and bring with them her favourites .. " she loved these, do have them in her remembrance" .. they say ..
The Gurudwara’s and the temples she visited regularly and the ‘prasad’ that she brought and distributed to all, in faith and in prayer, still recall her warmth and her 'darshans’ …
And so as you drive in from the airport within .. those moments of life spent in her care and love, never leave you .. what also does not leave you are those moments spent with her in her pursuits of creativity .. her rehearsals for the stage performances of Babuji’s translations of Shakespeare - Macbeth and Othello .. her interests she instilled in me by those visits to Vighyan Bhavan, newly constructed to listen to that great Classical Music Conductor Herbert von Karajan and his renderings of Beethoven .. the theatre evenings at the Fine Arts and Crafts Society, the painting exhibitions there too, ending up with 'chaat’ at the best in the city at Bengali Market, just near by ..
Those Republic Day parades that she took us to, waking up as early as 5 in the winter mornings of Delhi .. and later to the Beating of the Retreat and those lights that came on of the entire Rashtrapati Bhavan and the Secretariat at one stroke of the Army Band that played in the centre of the crossing outside the convergence roads to Parliament House .. those towers of the Secretariat housing a trumpeter, that synced with the band meters below, on one of the most harmonious hymns -'Abide with Me’, as the sun went down over Raisina Hill and behind the Rashtrapati Bhavan ..
The evenings at Gaylords, the in place for coffee and dinner, at Connaught Place, right next to the Regal cinema, where we would be taken by her to watch our Hindi films .. and around the corner to Rivoli cinema .. and some very memorable films seen there .. one particular, or perhaps two - '2001 Space Odyssey’ and Charlie Chaplin’s 'Limelight’ - a film that kept me awake for nights to come, because of the haunting music and the last scene .. !!
The 'paranthe wali gali’ in Chandni Chowk in old Delhi .. the best ever food in the world in those narrow lanes behind the main bazaar, gorging for hours the delicacies and the varieties that were presented .. and in Daryaganj, the famous tandoori chicken restaurant, renowned the world over of its quality - MotiMahal …!!!
All these places were beyond our means, but Mother would find a way .. they always do …
It is beginning to get cooler here in the North, and Delhi winters are renowned .. the warmth during the day, the sun and the air and the fresh smell of the flowers, and at night the fireplace and the 'razai’ and 'chilgoza’ and 'akhrot’ and hot coffee .. the first time Espresso Coffee came out in India at Delhi, and going to that Coffee place at the almost first 5 star Hotel in Delhi, the Oberoi Intercontinental .. that sound of coffee churning into a lather, those cozy little seating compartments, and the infectious odour of the winter hot drink …
Today much like what Kolkata felt like after a visit of many years, whether any of the above still abound .. trips to Delhi have been constant but restrained to events and house visits than any other .. in the drives past the known elements, those visuals do come by .. they come by .. and by …
I often wonder, my fortune and my presence in almost all parts of the country of fairly extended period giving me opportunity to imbibe the air and culture and working and living of these places .. educative and so helpful of many that come to assist me in my profession ..
My birth and long early years in Allahabad 14 years .. the years in Sherwood College in boarding in Nainital up in the mountains of Kumaon, the years spent in Delhi during schoolings and subsequently the University in Delhi and graduation, the job seeking and independent years in Kolkata for 7 years, the many months of continuous stay in Madras for film work, and of course the longest in Bombay .. now all becoming Chennai and Mumbai and in the days and years to come more different names to different cities …
But all along the great advantage of seeing the change in front of our eyes, as the years went by, not just in development but in attitude and challenge and temperament … blessed to be in such .. blessed to be ..