Sheher : Dilli Jageh: ITO
A photographic tour in one of the dense old neighborhood of Delhi so compactly built that sometimes there is very little space above the head between building or from the windows of the houses that meet the eye. Part historical tale of the old, part neglected fate of the new – the picture set carries us to the small alleys and open spaces captured in the early sunny morning of April.
Map source: http://www.map.stamen.com
Experiencing a city firsthand, having little knowledge about it is like filling an empty canvas with expressions that are abstract, rarely needing explanation which run in a theme of deep ambiguity. These personal impressions have a common undercurrent of perceptive impulse, unconscious effortless familiarity of spaces. This makes city an artwork of sorts, for those who experience it in their innate ways, and let the reign of freedom take over the process. ‘Ant swarming city,
city full of dreams, where in broad day the specter tugs your sleeve.’*
What keeps a city like Delhi pulsating, taking a leap from the obvious, are the myriad dreams and connotations the people who come to it attaches, and carries with them painted on their faces. A city with such numerous people, that to take a walk on a ‘street’ is to get lost within and without, and to a walk on the ‘road’ is like existing in a parallel robotic reality; each of us become a face in other’s crowd –dissolving the personal, and limited to an extension of a frame that encompasses a larger and collective whole that doesn’t belong. Delhi reveals itself more in the under layers of its obvious, crevices between its history, the story of the incidents of the unknown, the silent voices of the unheard, the accidental anecdotes of the old. Apparently, a great divide resists between the Delhi that remains in the memory of the old and the lives of the young – of a nostalgic, slow, playing coy in what it hides and reveals with a contrast in the continuous way forward way farers.
A city can be, at the same time, a place that one either makes a home and adapts to its vagaries, or be a permanent guest that doesn’t connect and yet lingers. It is not common to remain a complete stranger to the city while making it your home, to remain in a state of constant flux. And to feel and experience a city like Delhi, is to remain a stranger to its ways, to delight in everything it offers, not taking for granted, to have an anxiety in slow revelations. Having a biased liking to the city, I wish to keep unlearning the better of it, be a permanent stranger, as to experience the old over the new.
* Quote by Charles Baudelaire