Monday, January 26, 2009

Lutyen’s Delhi is a schizophrenic city, so drunk on its sense of power, it teeters on unstable heels (high, golden ones)

There. I’ve gone and spent it all on the title. I’m told this isn’t done, especially if I intend people to read the rest of my piece, but I’m going to impose upon the benign goodness of my readers and assume that since you’ve already ‘hit’ this page, you’ll finish what is going to be yet another rant (it seems to be all I do these days, but if you found yourself in the same situation as I’ve been in, and didn’t act prissy too, well, then you, my son, are a better man than I {I went with ‘son’, instead of the more gender-neutral ‘child’ because it’s just easier to then leave Kipling’s next line untouched, instead of adding the correct, but more clumsy qualification ‘man/woman than I’, even, say, if the latter were technically more accurate in this case}).

Back to Delhi, then, customary hemming-and-hawing done with. You can see it everywhere – in the scale, in the choice of automobiles, in the architecture – the almost manic geometry of the layout, in, inevitably therefore, the people. Their accents (a posher-part-of-London-meets-hardcore-Ludhiana-via-Chandigarh or a Gujarati-goes-to-New York-returns-to-Ahmedabad-and-then-heads-to-London type of thing – you know what I mean) and constructions (a marvellous study for any fledgling linguist/ gatekeeper-custodian-historian of language).

Shiv tells me that the same concerns are still being voiced by the same academicians, at the same kind of conferences, thirty-odd years down the line. Somehow, this doesn’t surprise me. Or, if I were to say it another way, this doesn’t surprise one. One what? One who? One why? ‘One’ has, in the past been guilty of using the third person two (sorry – I just couldn’t resist this numerical aside), but get over oneself, one wants to say to these other ones. Hmm.

(Aside: How is it that people discussing S&T Policy don’t know how to turn a cordless microphone on? It amuses me much that of all these scientists, this musician is the only one who is mic-savvy)
Ah well - these were the fevered musings of a conference I was at a couple of weeks ago. I 'found' it just today. Blame the 15-odd speakers I was meant to 'report' about for why I couldn't continue the rant which started (IMHO) so very promisingly. *Or thank them, if you'd rather, for they are the ones responsible for this - my shortest post yet.


Keys said...

Haha.. Interesting rant - actually it's more amusing than interesting, but what the heck... :-)

The "curly braces-within-parantheses" is an interesting construct. Supplemental information about supplemental information. Definitely seems like the way we think - especially when ranting. But don't the curly braces have a higher precedence than parantheses... ;-)

Hazel said...

This is my favouriest one so far!! ... very crisp! Love what you say in the brackets especially the part about '...posher-part-of-London-meets-hardcore-Ludhiana-via-Chandigarh or a Gujarati-goes-to-New York-returns-to-Ahmedabad-and-then-heads-to-London type of thing...'

Harmony Siganporia said...

Only if we're following the BEDMAS model, nein, Keys? ;) And Shiv says I can (only just) count to 5 - Math and I haven't been on speaking terms for two decades now!
@ Hazel - Awwwww :) It's a HEBU! It's my 'favouriest' one to-date as well. Have another interesting idea in mind - remind me (aiyyo! Internal Rhyme here too?) to write one of these days ;)

Mister Crowley said...

" '...posher-part-of-London-meets-hardcore-Ludhiana-via-Chandigarh or a Gujarati-goes-to-New York-returns-to-Ahmedabad-and-then-heads-to-London type of thing..."

You forgot to mention 'Rubber hops through Mellu land'

Sahil said...

Oho! And it started off so well too!
Still, it has its redeeming bits, I'm sure

Oh! Who am i kidding... I always like reading what you write... I'm a Harmonimininny junkie... Well, almost always ;)

Samuel said...

Really, among the better comments I have read so far on Delhi. does teeters on unstable heels, but the architecture is something the city still hides from the outsider. Next time you are around I hope to show you around Humayun's tomb and a few other places.

As for the people here, the less said the better, unless its a wordsmith like you doing the talking :-)

Harmony Siganporia said...

@ Samuel - You're far too kind, *She blushes - very inept at receiving compliments, is our H. I have seen Humayun's tomb in passing, the last time I was in the city. Been years since I did a proper 'Dilli Darshan' kind of thing, but if all goes well with my Ph.D. registration, I should be back in the city for a good few weeks, scrummaging around the Nehru Memorial archives :)
@ Sahil - Shut it, you KNOW you're a Harm-not-this-ninny junkie - face it, I say!
@ Mister Crowley - Well...yes! That too...