Being a Delhiite, it’s sorta “What, Seriously?” expression when you tell someone that you haven’t been to Chandni Chowk’s Paranthe wali Gali or the Red Fort. And, I hereby admit that I was one of those!
So recently when I managed to end up there with my friends, I spent the major part of my time exploring the Red Fort. The humble red building which encompasses in it the remnants of the Mughal Empire, the Diwan-e-khaas, the Diwan-e-aam and many more structures is now the UNESCO world heritage site. Another significance which one often connects the Lal Qila with is the annual flag hoisting by the Prime Minister on Independence Day.
As I was looking at the various old structures, what intrigued me the most was the fact that there are so many hidden stories which we aren’t even aware of, and yet there are oodles we know from the testimony that history left for us!
But as time waits for none, I also had my usual ‘being home at time’ problem, the necessary deadline forcing me to leave the monument early. And so, I experienced the real Chandni Chowk in the 15-20 minutes’ walk from the Red Fort Parking to the metro station.
Our group of 5 was already scattered in the narrow lanes, as the roads are all overcrowded with shops. The moment you dare to look a little longer at a hoarding or check out any shop, you are likely to end up in a quarrel with a rickshaw wala coz either you came in his way or he was just too adventurous to try knocking you down! The crowd was ever busy, yet, people do care to help you with directions. But that is always at your own risk.
Brushing past through the randomly parked vehicles, the passing rickshaws, the different tones and versions of ‘hello’ on the cell phones, the horny traffic, the abruptly dim and bright lighting, the puppy at a corner of the street, the withered buildings with royal names, a temple at every nook and corner, I realized that Chandni Chowk sorta signifies the very soul of Delhi. It has aptly preserved the past, as reflected through the buildings and the legendary shops and at the same time it reminds you of the present-the people there! Future-well, we all love surprises, anyways! 😉