Delhi – Dil Se

“I asked my soul: What is Delhi? She replied: The world is the body and Delhi its life. Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib”

― Khushwant Singh, Delhi: A Novel

I have always been enthralled by the notion of city literature.  The word city literature does not exist in the world of academics, who cares. I like the books such as Maximum City, Narcopolis, City of Joy..and Singh’s Delhi has always been my hot favourite.

Well, I came across few posts like Mumbai is a fast paced city with raw vibe and Calcutta is a city with soul…but Delhi well…Mirza Ghalib already spoke about it, it is the life itself.

It was the Diwali vacation and just like any year, holiday .it was the time for the annual holiday.Almost eight years ago ..I set my lousy body upon Delhi as a first year English Honours student with my parents and relatives. We headed for Uttarakhand and UP brahmana that time.This time it was Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.


My mom and dad were scheduled to arrive in Old Delhi Station at 8:30 pm via Kalka Mail. However being the wild history enthusiast(count me as a Delhi aficionado also).I wanted to have maximum time with myself in order to explore the mad conurbation. I wanted to visit two places..because, during the last visit, I couldn’t get enough of India Gate and missed Jama Masjid ( major missing ).

Now enough of slump epilogue…Let the travel begin.

The date was..forget it..reached Mumbai Central and boarded New Delhi-bound Mumbai-New Delhi Rajdhani Express with lots of hope and aspiration. I have travelled a lot by premier trains( No No I am not rich- so no showing off)…and Rajdhani has been able to maintain its aura.  Duronto Express also provides the same type of services..but the quality has gone down drastically. So there was I with a trolly,backpack, some great songs and House of Cards episodes on my mobile.

One of the best thing about this train journey was that ..everyone was having conversations and in this era of smartphones it is quite a great feat. Yes, there were kids and bachelor launde and uncles but all in all, it was a cool one.

The October heat of Mumbai was far far away and instead, a cool Delhi welcomed me with open arms.I made an acquaintance with a budding Al Pacino of Andheri ( on the train itself)who was struggling to make an impact on 70mm in Mumbai .

Nikhil Madnani saved me from the complex web of Yellow, blue, Red lines ( routes) of Delhi Metro owing to his thorough knowledge about the National Capital and we enjoyed do Garam chai ki Pyali followed by…you know what I mean. I was finally sitting at the century-old Colonial feel wala  Delhi Railway station after dumping my luggage at the locker room.Now it was the time to set out like a vagabond(…with GPS) across the gully and nukkar of Delhi………

To be continued…………


It was one of those times in Pune during summer 2013, when my University classes were having sleepy hours, I got liquid cash owing to some clerical works and was having an intimate rapport with a travelogue.My aunt arrived,we decided to explore the heartlands of Maharashtra.Along with my friend Sreyashi(a wanderlust), the trip began with three Bong Viagero.Later our dear friend Nawras and Papula joined us.With wide roads, streamlined curvy Sahayadri Mountain in front of me and a comfortably cushioned Neeta Volvo Push back seat on my back..the journey began.Forty minutes into the journey, our vehicle stepped into a ravishing rural Maharashtra.With small hills and hillocks on the background, covered with green patches, long streaches of sweet corn plantation, a well maintained State highway, and some country music (John Denver) on my Panasonic headphone, it was the most soothing experience to heart, mind and body.      Our Vehicle reached  ‘Aurangabad’, thanks to Mrs Mousumi Gupta’s managerial skill we got a decent accomodation.After a cozy sleep in the morning next day we got into a white Innova.The journey to historic Ajanta Caves thus began. Traversing through the blackpitched road, stuffing my mouth with Kurdish styled Papula’s sandwich, black raisin and dried fruits from Kurdistan we finally covered 40km, reached a checkpoint and got into a Maharashtra tourism bus.The bus journeyed through a dense forest patch (reminded me of Tirupati roads), an anorexic stream was following us.I preferred to gallop on a white horse.The spot where we reached had a sign “UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE.Completely disconnected from the world, sorrounded by high hills on three sides, a pollution free world, a place freezed in time.Sreyashi ,my alltime friend disappeared only to appear with tickets, a great traveller indeed. Aha, What I saw was a lifetime scene.A streched mountain , with well craved monasteries. The black stones were carved to make sculptures.Let me tell you about the caves, you have to cover 100 steps to get into a certain platform, on the right hand side you have the caves, on the left hand side the same slim trim stream peeping through greenery.The caves have been etched of a cliff, which is on the southern portion of the U shaped magnet deep gorge, on that same stream (Waghori river).There were almost 28 caves with varied archetectural structure. Filled with Stupas, Chaityas, various scenes from the Jataka tales have been drawn.

Gautam Buddha was in a reclined manner in cave no 26.The peaceful aura in his eyes is magical.The caves are the greatest evidence of Indian Wall Paintings.I noticed closely, the caves are of two varieties. One representing Satvahana Period and another Vakataka Period. OK, let me tell you there is a basic difference in Buddhism, the Mahayana and Hinayana, and it was very much evidential in the architectural pattern.Restoration process was in progress in some caves, loathed the temperament of some tourists, for them every spot is a picnic spot seemed so busy in clicking the so called selfies, neglecting the engineering and artistic achievement of our forefathers.


You have to take out your footwear to step in, the rooms were dark (may be they have a dark secret).However ASI (Archeological Survey of India) provided with soothing dim light.The heat was taking a toll on me, thanks to my retro goggles and base ball cap..I survived.I was so much engrossed in studying them, I realized I have lost contact with my group.I saw Sreyashi showcasing her photography skill to Nawras.Being from the region of Mesopotamia (grandhouse of civilization), they were  accustomed with Budda (my friends never pronunced |h|).However the diverse range of artistic production  with so much detailing over Buddhist philosophy surely made them feel with a deep sense of Joy..(Now I wish to study Islam also..from a very authentic source ).       I photographed various statues of Shakyamuni characterised by grand hairstyle, serene looks and those deep eyes, surely Prince Siddharta as a living person must have been a real magician.Just look closely in his eyes, it provides you with an enigmatic sense of peace.The paintings have been executed on a ground of mud-plaster in the so called tempera technique.                             I took a close look, some images resembled Helenic and Roman school of paintings.If you are acquainted with Chinese period flicks, then you can possibly draw some parallel with Mongolian style.  It took almost four hours to complete all the caves, a fine natural scenario- a milky waterfall gushing like bullets into the rocks.

Accompanied by naughty monkies, bumbling photographers, duty free miniature statue seller and fruit vendors, finally we took a long walk towards postmodern India.And what’s next, we were back in Innova in order to return to the city of Gates.Do I need to say, that I was highly impressed by Indian Cave paintings and Sculpture- marvellous in conception brilliant in execution.Don’t you dare to miss it.See you folks at       Ellora.photographs:Nawras Garib, Mousumi Gupta, Sreyashi Gupta, Papula Star Baban and Debraj Moulick

N.B- do carry Sunglass, cap, waterbottles and wide angle lenses

Debraj Moulick