A City’s Voice – Part 1


I have been living in Delhi since I was 6 months old. I did my schooling from a local school and am pursuing my graduation from a college in Delhi. Like all developing countries, India has changed a lot over the last decade and with it, it’s cities have and are growing. Delhi, being the capital and one of the 4 big metropolitan cities, is growing like tumour.
I remember the time when the roads were less crowded by vehicles but more by cows. Delhi was more like a scaled up version of a village. But still people came here, to try their luck. Since ancient times, this city has been the seat of power. The power that corrupts and is the source of much evil. No wonder the corruption in Delhi was high then, though it has reduced to some extent now.
The sheer magnitude of human population in Delhi is mind boggling. I have a feeling the altitude of Delhi may have reduced by some metres and is likely to go downwards, nearer to sea level. But jokes apart, this city has people from different states and religions calling it home. People from diverse cultural backgrounds, speaking different languages.
I was confused, by a thought that occurred to me. With such a diverse and large human population, that speaks different languages, what is the language of Delhi? If it could speak, what would it say? What is the common voice of all the voices residing in this city?
The answer to this question became my Holy Grail. I telephoned Manav, a friend living in Mumbai, the biggest metropolitan city in India. It has the same diversity of population as Delhi. I asked him about the voice of Mumbai, that what would Mumbai say?
“I don’t know, maybe say that it’s enough.” replied Manav,”The city will say, it’s enough. Stop overpopulating me, I cannot take more. Stop it. I think that is what, Mumbai would say.”
The reply was interesting, but not what I wanted. Next I called a friend in Delhi. Priya is a fellow Delhi-ite like me and has confessed her love for the city many times.
I called her and asked her the same question. “That is a stupid question,” she exclaimed, “How can a city speak?”
“That is why I said if it could speak.” I replied
“Hmmmm….it might say a lot of things, actually,” she said, “It could say something about it’s history, about what it was and what we have made it or about overpopulation. On what context are you asking this question? Why do you need the answer?”
“Leave it!”
“But, why are you asking this question? What are you up to?”
“Nothing. Leave it.”
The question was haunting my brain. I asked my mother and father and a few other friends and their reply was more or less similar to the one given by Manav. Though, my mother added that the basic motto of the people living in the city is to not care about anyone else and continue with their lives, without looking at others.
My grandfather had a bit more to say, “It is an open ended question and the answer will depend on how you look at it,” he replied, “each and every answer will be correct. The root cause of all evil in this city is overpopulation. So according to me that is what the city will speak about. Or it might say something about the populated Yamuna River and the air population, the lack of trees.”
“Nice answer,” I thought, “but still not what I was looking for.” I was back to square one.

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6 Responses to “A City’s Voice – Part 1”
  1. Pallavi says:

    The City speaks…

    I speak through my history,
    The monuments and forts that stood through centuries.

    Once upon a time the river was clean and the crops lush green,
    The sky was clear and the moon had a gleam.

    Time flew, borders extended as my family grew,
    People from different backgrounds, cultures, religion came by and I gave them home,
    Yet I wonder why there is little harmony and everyone speaks in an indifferent tone?

    Politicians and their politics all you will find,
    Grand events and fashion shows is only for which now you make time.

    Style change sooner than the four seasons,
    And now clothes and car decide your societal status.

    The masses are now driven by the class,
    And the class has now lost its charm and become mass.

    I am a city that has many tales to tell
    I want to talk but lost my voice hit the dead end and fell!

  2. Pallavi says:

    PS: Couldn’t you have thought of a better name than Priya???

  3. snowleopard says:

    How can a name be bad or one name be better than the other.

  4. Mayur says:

    Manav makes me remember Akshaye Khanna from Taal 🙂

    The question is still there… what is the premise of asking this?

  5. Prateek says:

    @Mayur: None. I asked an abstract question. It has no right or wrong answer. The answer depends on your perception.

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