I remember walking around in circles in CP, sitting outside cafes for hours in New Friends Colony or Saket, sitting inside cafes for hours in Khan Market, sitting by a dead fountain in Nehru Place. I remember being lost and restless, anxious and annoyed. But I don’t remember ever being so bored.
Maybe it’s the city. It has changed its face. Everyone seems to have a new car that accelerates faster and honks louder, and makes their cock look bigger. There are no more Bajaj Chetaks. There are Puntos and Ventos, no more Padminis.
Everyone seems to be headed to the malls – the horrific, tasteless malls – to queue up for a 400-rupee cinnamon roll (Dal-chini, it’s called), or order a reassuringly overpriced bowl of authentic Thai hawker noodles. There is no chili garlic chowmein.
I’m not saying I have anything against prosperity or new money. I can happily consume a Hunan Claypot or a Thai curry every weekend (and I do). And I’m not saying the city used to be better when all you could do was go to Sagar Ratna (and I myself couldn’t afford even that).
What am I saying? I’m not entirely sure.
Maybe it’s just that I’ve grown too familiar with everything. Every street, every restaurant, every market, everyone. I know exactly what to expect. Anywhere I go, I feel like I have stepped on the crumbling pavements a million times before. I even seem to find all the faces a bit too familiar. I’ve probably seen them all.
Maybe I’ve become too comfortable with my 2-year-old job, my colleagues, my house, my laptop, my car and my smart fucking phone. With ordering a book online every week, eating out at the nice place every weekend, getting chocolate sauce added to my cold coffee.
Not long ago, my biggest dilemma was to decide whether I should splurge on an Auto ride or sweat it out in the bus and save money for a beer on the weekend. Now, I’m reading fucking car reviews wondering if I need electronically-controlled rear view mirrors. When did this start. Where does it end.
Which is why I’ve been thinking of this song. “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” Maybe it’s true.
Maybe it’s better to be a penniless dreamer, than to have your dreams replaced by ambitions. To savour the cheapest drink on the menu as if it was your last, than to be be skimming through the wine list while your BlackBerry gently beeps.