Two years after leaving our Delhi home, I’ve returned for the publication of my new book about life in this city of sixteen million.
And returning after so long has brought a strange mix of nostalgia and immediacy.
It’s joy and melancholy combined: it’s magnificent to be back, it’s depressing to have left, it’s sad to be away from where life is now.
I arrived on Thursday night. I slept, I recovered, and then I dove into this newer Delhi, where a spotless shining South Delhi Metro now deposits me under the havelis of the 19th century. Amazing to begin here…
… and then so quickly be eating here.
Old Delhi always used to evoke a sense of unknown—a sense that I’m seeing centuries of history I can’t comprehend. Now there’s a new emotion: wistfulness. My memories are now part of the cacophony. Walking through the lanes, the things I see remind me of the life Jenny and I lived here, too.
And here’s what’s more amazing: as many times as we came in the past, there are still countless sights I’d never before seen.
And then, from the old to the new: off to the American Center the book launch, where somewhere between 75 and 2,500 people gathered to celebrate the release of Delirious Delhi.
I was joined on stage by Sonal Shah, an editor at Time Out Delhi. Together we discussed the book, my post-Delhi hairline, my secret food-hoarding habits when I was at work in Gurgaon, and why the greatest thing to ever happen to Delhi may or may not be Big Bazaar.
It was a great event, with laughter and only a few awkward moments. If you missed it, good news: there will be an encore event Thursday, 8 December at Olive Beach restaurant in Chanakyapuri! Details have been posted here.
Finally, cheers to Sushobahn from Singapore for buying six copies. Let’s hope everyone else follows his example.