Capital Schizophrenia

“You never reveal your true self on Twitter.”
“I do, I just don’t like being personal in such a public forum.”
“How will we ever know the real you?”
“We’ll meet IRL (In Real Life) and we will discover each other.”
This goes on for a while.
Something happens, I feel strongly about it, I express my true feelings, as gracefully as I can, given the context.
“You are so rude.”
“No, I expressed what I felt, politely.”
“I can see the malice in your tweets.”



I stepped out for a smoke. [Smoking is injurious to health. This blog does not promote smoking. If you smoke you should stop now. If you don’t, never start.] Two other young men stepped out too. One of them was a smoker. Smokers are confined to small places. We end up being more intimate. Overhearing their conversation, I realised they were from the Indian Army. One was posted in Leh, the other in Dimapur. Brothers. Different Mothers. They meet in Delhi during their furlough. As they were about to leave, I stopped them, asked if, indeed, they were from the Army. They confirmed. I shook hands with them. Thanked them for the immense freedom and safety I live in. I avoided mentioning how most of us wantonly abuse that freedom. We had a short round of wonderful introductions. I was ridden with goosebumps for the next half-an hour.


My disgust at the word startup and related terms is well documented. [All disliked words are suitably italicised] To be sure, the disgust is about the terminology, not the act itself. I have immense respect for those who take a dream and struggle to make it a reality. I was there once, twice, thrice, before. I feel blessed, that I have had, an almost, equal measure of success and failure. And I have learnt from both events. And then, recently, I heard, “We are a startup, we don’t do documentation or plans.” A very small (thankfully) bit of me, died a writhing death. Some idiot, somewhere, laid out a sexy sexy (not italics) imitative path to success. And the entrepreneurs (another word I dislike) gravitated to it like engineering students to porn. I call it “Building bereft of basics.” And I smile, and go my way.


Until you use the public transport in a city, you are a tourist. I know, even tourists use public transport. But there has to come a time when you say, bloody tourists – since they have no idea about the local protocol of the public transport. Man becomes one with a city when he makes the public transport his own. He feels possessive, guarded, and intimate with the system. Every city, in this world, has something that you can dislike. And if it is not a good thing, you should dislike it. If you live in that city, however, you have to also find what is lovable. Every city, in this world, has something that is lovable. I sensed today, that I can be friends with Delhi. I said hello, the city reciprocated. We smiled. We are going to spend more time together.


I got my Delhi Metro SmartCard today. The equivalent of an Oyster in London. These are childish pleasures, but immense in their intensity. Touch a card, and the baffle gate opens, only for you. Automagically the amount is deducted when you exit, because, automagically it remembers where you boarded. It was fun in 2005, it is fun, ten years later. Those who were born into it, may not appreciate it, but if you knew what it was when this tech didn’t exist, you will know what I mean.

Delhi Metro Card

Delhi Metro Card


I carried a book today. Thought, I’d read it on the Metro. But it didn’t come out of the bag. There was so much to see of this new city, I didn’t feel like reading. Distance, usually, is measured in length. In Mumbai, we measure the distance in time. So, if you ask someone in Mumbai, how far is [some place], they’ll respond in time, not in kilometres. So, traveling a distance is a means of consuming time. Books, for example. Most people today consume media. Head phones and eyes-down on a small screen. I was smiling to myself. Loudly. No one noticed. No one looked up from their screens, at my face. In Central Delhi, the metro goes underground. And it comes up at the perfect station: Qutub Minar. It’s far away from the station, but the view from a distance doesn’t diminish it, at all. Being childish, makes sense, all over again. [No, I didn’t take a photograph, I was busy looking at it.]


It’s very easy to insult. There are print books dedicated to a number of insults. 1001 insults, 5001 insults, and such. I’ve always wondered if that extra, one insult is special? Reading and using insults from books is so yesterday. Good insults come from really smart people. I was insulted twice in a single conversation today. One, I easily defended, it was obvious. The other one, was smart. It took me a few hours to realise it. Long after the conversation was over. I just smiled, when the second insult did a sunrise across my forehead, and inside my head. It was a class act. I didn’t accept it, but I mentally saluted my insulter. The sophistication of an insult, that’s an evolved art form.


I just killed four more thoughts that were supposed to make it to this post.

But that’s life.



18 thoughts on “Capital Schizophrenia

  1. The “city reciprocated” link took me back to several of your earlier posts. And what I conclude is, whichever city you actually have to live in, we’ll get romantic, philosophical posts from you about how that city is special in its own way. Which city it is, doesn’t matter. 🙂

    Revealing your “true self” on Twitter is no different than revealing on your personal blog, which is also public. Twitter is just a medium of interaction more popular than reading/commenting on blog posts, so please don’t take Twitter responses to heart. It’s 10x easier to respond on Twitter to criticize than to write a comment on a blog post, that’s it.

    Lastly, on the insult incident, you asked a question on Twitter tagging it with #askingforafriend. The tag made me think it was unrelated to anything that happened with you, but now I understand the sarcasm. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha @ cities. True, I guess. There’s much to dislike about every city, I guess. Especially with media being in your face so much and highlighting everything that is wrong with everything. I like to get a feel for cities, not so much by way what I hear and see, but what I sense. That’s so much more powerful than what we get through the physical senses. I am a self-confessed and a happy city-slicker. (As if that’s not obvious)

      The thing I do not like about the trend on Twitter is the egging on, to say something that’s provocative. That’s what most people on Twitter seem to be doing. I am not averse to sharing my “real-self” online. It’s just that I don’t prefer Twitter to be the platform. And this has nothing to do with the so called “limitations” of the platform. It’s just that I lean towards a structure that blogs allow. In any case, my most preferred medium to get to know people and for people to get to know me remains IRL. 🙂

      Ah yes, I saw so many folk using the askingforafriend hashtag, thought I’d take a stab at sarcasm. 😀 I try and avoid being sarcastic online. It’s much better and interesting IRL, when you can see the expressions, body language, and notice inflections.

      Anyway, now you know! 😀


  2. Delhi!! You are in my city!!! (I overuse exclamation marks when I am excited). We must must must and must meet.
    I hope the city is treating you well. Despite the oddities it is a good place ESP at this time of the year.. I have lived in many places but Delhi winters any day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh fellow transit traveler, how I laughed at your astute observations. In my city of modern excesses and obsessions, transit is primitive and woefully inadequate. Why is it like this you ask? Because there is too much wealth and affluence, and those in power never set foot on it. Why ride the peasant wagon, when you can drive? You put your commuting time to good use ( as all transit riders must or go insane). Keep it up. Every moment becomes history.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, fellow transit traveler. There’s much to to learn and experience in travel, even if it is the drab version on intra-city travel. I am learning that almost everything (I say almost, only to allow the probability that I may be wrong) is a matter of choice. Thank ye! 🙂


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