Call Delhi by any other name.

It seems Bombay  is no longer the most livable city in India. Delhi is. One blessing is you can speak any language here, celebrate any festivals and call it Hamari Dehli, Saadi Dilli or Mahri Dilli and spell it right or wrong – without being asked to apologize.

It seems I am not the only one who is giving extra points to Delhi, I have to agree with  this front page news about ‘Livability Index’.

There’s more about Delhi that’s lovable.

This morning I was almost falling off the balcony choosing which veggies to buy from a thela-wala on the road when I spotted this little guy 🙂

That’s a healthy breakfast 🙂

I had no idea bottle brush was such a favorite 🙂


47 thoughts on “Call Delhi by any other name.

  1. Yes, parrots seem to love bottlebrush. We had a bottlebrush tree in the garden when I was a kid: there would regularly be parrots there!

    I agree about Delhi: after the first few days, I never felt like an outsider there. If you read the ‘City of Djinns’, Dalrymple talks about how most of Delhi citizens are immigrants, which is why new migrants don’t feel very out of place. (At least, I think I got that from that book – I might be remembering wrong.)


  2. Dilli rules and rocks anytime anyday 🙂
    Can i utter even a bad word about the city, inspite of knowing how unsafe it is for women…but meri dilli meri jaan 🙂
    and love the colors in the pic…green and red makes such a happy mix! and totu mian is so busy gathering breakfast. love it!


  3. Nature always cheers one up doesn’t it ? 🙂 Nice pic. Reminds me of the family of sparrows which had set up its nest on the window panes of my neighbor’s house,and how they’d never open those windows for the songbirds’ sake.A happy memory.

    This was around 10 years back, and i haven’t seen a sparrow in my city in a long,long time.Hope to see their population revive itself,before its too late.

    Me- Okay fine, my next post you will see some sparrows in my window in Pune 🙂 🙂 🙂


  4. Oh how I love and miss Delhi…Though my opinion has been called biased, I would agree Delhi and most of the NCR regions are way more livable than the other so called ‘metros”.

    Yeh dilli hai mere yaar …Bas ishq mohabbat pyaar 😉


  5. IHM,

    Nothing serious….just this :

    Some have walls and railings
    for themselves
    as well
    as their thoughts;
    Closed to the
    of the world,
    or even 50% of it.

    But there are
    some colorful ones
    living in abodes
    and trees,
    that are free.
    to search,
    and indulge,
    in the circus,
    that is life.

    One such,
    enamoured ,
    of the cauliflower
    almost fell off
    a Delhi railing,
    in time to hear,
    “Cauli, to maloom nahi
    lekin mere life mein to
    flower hi flower hai ! ”

    Wonderful photos, by the way !


  6. According to me, Delhi has always been more livable than Mumbai, but I don’t think it’s the most livable…I don’t know how it ranked high in the safety department…Electricity woes are getting worse with every passing year…And traffic jams – oof! I’m from Delhi and I’ve seen the city go down the drains…


    • Sraboneyghose, I don’t think that Electricity woes are getting worse in Delhi. The situation has improved a lot after the privatization of distribution.


  7. Who better than Ustad Zauq to talk about Dilli : “Kaun jaaye Zauq par, Dilli ki Galiyan chhod kar” (Who would like to quit the lanes of Delhi, Zauq)
    Or Mir : “Dil va Dilli dono agar hai kharaab/ Par kuch lutf us ujde ghar mein bhi hain”
    (Both heart and Delhi may both be bad but some little pleasures still remain in this ruined house).
    🙂 🙂


  8. awww! Those are some adorable pictures!!!

    You know I have never lived in Delhi just visited it for short trips but dunno why I like the city! There is some warmth! Or may it is all because of my North ka roots!!!

    Your reason about it’s name are apt 😉


  9. Delhi has improved tremendously when it comes to infrastructure.

    I would still prefer Mumbai, even with its crumbling infrastructure. But the decay in Mumbai is not restricted to the infrastructure. Just observe the driving habits of the people here and you’ll see what I mean. Based on my last few visits, I have seen more people – in some very fancy cars – jump lights and disregard traffic rules in Mumbai than in Delhi. Traffic is only one aspect, but it does tell you about the general attitude of the people.

    Is Delhi’s ranking a result of actual improvement, or is it more because other cities have also failed?

    And great pictures, IHM.


    Quirky Indian

    Me- The other cities have failed Quirky Indian. 😦
    I love Bombay too, but now I quite like Delhi too. I find Delhi more cosmopolitan now.


  10. I have heard my relatives who live in Delhi, praising that city.

    Beautiful pictures! How the parrots nearly fold themselves to get hold of the flower, nice.

    Suranga’s imagination, here again, is beautiful. More photos and poems, please!

    Me- I had your bulbuls in mind- always have your bulbuls in mind while taking bird pictures 🙂


  11. What’s concerning is that Mumbai is 2nd in that list! Surely, all the anti-outsider sentiment and the anti-democratic organizations that flourish there make it a really bad city to live in? And the idea that if Mumbai is 2nd best, then the other cities must be far worse is certainly a frightening one.

    Me – Bombay is a great city to live in and it has its spirit – I think even the politicians can’t touch that spirit for too long. I think Hyderabad, Gurgaon etc will become still more poplar.


  12. i used to love dilli when i was a teenager ..cos of janpath and shopping …but now i dotn even want to stay there for a day !! my best friends are thr , my cousins love it …its just me …i find it overcrowded and there is a sense of madness …but thats in both mumbai and delhi …m more of a banglore /pune person !! chandigarh any day !!…lovely pics …i like bottle brushes too ..:)

    thanks IHM for sugesting my blog for blogadda 🙂

    Me- Loved your post!!! I also sent the link to a friend who sent me a whole lot of those messages 🙂


  13. There is something about Delhi.
    I hated it , I love it, I miss it, I am glad to get away… and I get very nostalgic for it and yet I always declare, I am not from Delhi! Oh and how is Connaught Place- always loved that place!

    Me- Ha ha …Allytude Connaught Place misses you 🙂


  14. Surprising to hear good things about dilli from a women.. I heard from numerous discussions that it is the worst city for independent fun loving woman…

    I like Mumbai.

    Ya Delhi is more cosmopolitan in vibe, but not by inhabitants. Mumbai is cosmopolitan by inhabitants but not by vibes. You always have the Marathi smell to it (I wonder how the Gujaratis in Mumbai feel)

    If only Mumbai was our administrative capital, an Union Territory, with autonomous governance and a central budget... Wish CommonWealth was happening in Mumbai…

    I so wish.

    Me – I wish Bombay was our administrative capital, a Union Territory, with autonomous governance and a central budget too. 😦


  15. Nice pics,IHM 🙂
    I have never stayed in Delhi for more than 3/4 days,so can’t really comment on good/bad aspects of it..but whatever i heard of it being most unsafe place for females..i always wondered, how a national capital of a country could b such dangerous place..But now it looks like all izz well 😀


  16. Oooh… great pics! If you can look down from your balcony and be entertained by flamboyant parrots , maybe Delhi does have its plus points (so speaks the Bombayite).
    Incidentally, there are parrots all over my garden here in Mumbai too, raiding the cashew trees and screeching at me if I dare disturb them.

    Me- I love your gorgeous garden!!! Please do post some pictures of your parrots 🙂 They raid your trees and you can’t even disturb them :)) No wonder they love your garden, it’s their home too 🙂


  17. Yes..! even i love Delhi for its grace n beauty in accepting any culture, religion n language ..
    unlike my mumbai… for the problems u already said…
    the only thing i felt Delhi still needs to improve a lot is its, security for women travelers…
    In mumbai i am never much scared of traveling anywhere at any point of time, but in Delhi i still think twice……… O by the way that was a greattttttt change as everyone expects mumbai to 2 a topper….. 🙂

    Me- This little indication should not be ignored Devil Incarnate. Bombay has always been safe for women and common man, but politics has not done it any good 😐 I feel Delhi is unsafe for everybody – my nephew and his friend were mugged recently 😦


  18. Good Morning IHM !

    I am so glad to see this bird seem to be enjoying is freedom ! Though he yet doesn’t know the importance of it. Here in Mumbai the area in which I stay is full of all kinds of birds 🙂 Parrots too are in abundance.

    I saw a baby parrot fallen on ground the other day, was being hit by crows. Brought him home and now am healing his wounds… hope he will fly away soon 🙂

    Me- Bless you Niharika! Please do take pictures for us to see – how do you feed the poor baby?


  19. lovely pix IHM, In the area where I stay we have lots of parakeets (we do not have parrots in Delhi). They come storming the silk cotton trees and make such a racket. Bottle Brush is their favorite and the color contrast is so beautiful when they sway along with the delicate flowers on the tree. I have loads of pix on my blog.

    Although a lot of space is taken away by upcoming contruction of malls and housing societies still we have managed to keep the birds visiting the city.

    loved the post

    Me- Link please!! 🙂


  20. I do not live in delhi.Delhi as its plus points.But there are many negatives.First it is surrounded by criminal belt This is reason for innumerable gangrapes in car etc.Perpetrators are rich kids.Delhi does not look like safe for women.Also it has no of obnoxious VIP’s with unlimited security.Climate is extreme.Not my dream of an ideal metro.Mumbai & kalkutta are better not withstanding Thakereys & Commies.

    Me- Ha ha :)) Bombay is a favorite city of mine too 🙂 I know what you mean. Delhi has been voted despite it’s horrendous crime rate and extreme weather… it isn’t Delhi that has become good, but Bombay that has changed for worse 😦


  21. Wowwww!! Been to Delhi a couple of times…and enjoyed the shopping there 😉 The parrot pic was so lovely.. where I live..its mostly dull grey.. the only birds we get to see are greyer (if possible) ducks :-)))


  22. Such lovely fresh pictures! Colorful and full of life! I have never so far been to India, but if I could choose, Delhi would be my first destination. I have read Dalrymple’s City of Jinns, it’s full of love and admiration for the city. In general, Dalrymple loves India, even when he writes about social and political conditions…Because of this book, I started reading more on India and appreciating and respecting its variety(cultural, political, ethnic,) I wonder if the film Delhi 6 shows a true picture of Old Delhi?

    Me- I think it does… but old Delhi is only a small part of Delhi Sonia…

    I see that many of the city’s disadvantages are referred and that, compared to Mumbai, Delhi is more dangerous. Is there any metropolis in the world without problems? Even in NYC there are difficult areas…
    Cities with millions of inhabitants, something I cannot fully grasp. My country’s whole population is smaller than Delhi’s. Imagine!

    Me- Yes it is difficult to imagine …
    Delhi is considered unsafe, the crime rate is high 😦 Bombay for all it’s other problems is a much safer city for women, perhaps the safest in the country. If the local politicians don’t create divides Bombay will go back to being the most livable city in India.


    • Speaking of divides, in a province town in the north of my country, a group of angry men belonging to an extreme right party prevented a group of theatre actors from entering the town to perform, because of the pro- immigrant views of the leading man, an extremely good actor, belonging to the greens/ecologists’ party.

      Me- I wish everybody understood how dangerous supporting a right wing party is – for an entire nation. If only we the voters could reject their ideology..

      Divides due to politicians happen everywhere, I hope that Mumbai will become the city of your dreams, as for me, I believe that a sound democracy can and must protect our dreams. But maybe I am a dreamer..

      Me- Sonia I am a dreamer too… and this reminds me of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ …


      • Sometimes, because of all these things happening around, I feel either like belonging to the ” Eleanor Rigby” s heroes, or wanting to be as Th. Hardy puts it ” Far from the Madding Crowd” . But then I remember that my place is where I happen to be, so I must have my battles, my way. Anyway, besides education, I don’t see any other means of convincing people about rejection of extreme ideologies. And that is not enough, when the social/financial conditions are not as they should be. But I keep dreaming and hoping.


  23. Oh ya, why arent they renaming Delhi ??? 😀 😀 😀 😀

    and a few years later, they should change India to ‘bharat’ ! 😀 😀 😀 😀

    Me – LOL Delhi already has a culture called ‘Delhi-culture’ 😀 And I am sure after reading this comment we will not be able to google India, it will have to be Bharat 🙂


  24. The pictures are wonderful, IHM. Excellent timing, and good colour.

    I have been a long term resident of four Indian metros with varying time periods of residency: Bombay (that’s what it was called when I lived there, very early in my childhood), Delhi, Calcutta and Bangalore. There is no clear winner in my book in terms of overall quality of living. In my experience, each city had/has its pros and cons.

    However, since the topic is about Delhi, I will share some of my experiences and my ratings about Delhi, as well as some popular opinions I have heard, as this is the city where I have spend the maximum amount of time compared to the other cities.

    1. Cheap and delicious vegetables and fruits, especially the summer fruits – mangoes, litchis, watermelons and melons.

    2. Cheap petrol, diesel and cooking gas. I have always seen that fuel prices are the least in Delhi compared to all four metros. I think this is because the Mathura Oil Refinery is close by.

    3. Wide roads and tree lined avenues in many parts of the city. I have always loved this feature about Luyten’s Delhi.

    4. Bungalows and houses: I used to love the tree-shaded white ministerial bungalows near India Gate, Lodhi Road, Tughlaq Road, North Avenue and South Avenue (the NDMC area), the quaint old cream and pink coloured 2 storey DDA flats of Andrews Ganj, LaxmiBai Nagar, Netaji Nagar and Sarojini Nagar and R.K.Puram, and the spacious bungalows with interesting architectures in the diplomatic areas of Chanakyapuri.

    4. A well integrated and systematic bus network. I have always been impressed by the routes and coverage of the DTC buses. And in my opinion, the DTC bus numbering system is the most logical and convenient numbering system I have seen. (Routes no. 100+ to 900+ in clockwise sectoral direction in a pattern from North(100 + ), N.E. (200 + ), East Delhi (300 + ), S.E. (400 + ), South Delhi (500 + and 600 +), South West Delhi (700 +), West Delhi (800 +) and North West Delhi (900 +)

    5. CNG buses and autos. I hated the diesel smoke on the roads that used to make my eyes go red and used get me nauseated in stuffy, crowded and hot buses. Thank goodness Delhi switched to CNG in 2001 – it made the air SO MUCH cleaner. In fact, even though the CNG exhaust is primarily CO2, it still has a mild sickly sweet smell which I prefer to burnt diesel.

    6. Plenty of historical monuments. Since I am an avid follower of history, I love the fact that Delhi has so many well known and so many NOT so well known old monuments, tombs and tanks scattered all over the city. Unfortunately many of the structures like Tughlakabad Fort and the Mehrauli structures are being badly neglected, which reflects poorly on the administration and ASI.

    7. Good schools. I don’t know why, but I always have thought that Delhi has a higher number of good quality schools compared to other cities in the country. Plus, since the syllabus was C.B.S.E in most schools, it was generally high scoring and less burdensome. Incidentally, I am an ex-student of a school named Sardar Patel Vidyalaya. I loved my school a lot and have great memories associated with it.

    8. The new swanky metro. I fell in love with it the first time I stepped onto one in 2007. Unfortunately since I live in Bangalore now, I don’t get a chance to ride the Metro too often 😦

    9. The winter. I used to love Delhi winters as a kid. You could play outside all day in winter and not get tired! Winter also was the time for oranges (one of my favourite fruits), hot soups, and a season where you could enjoy fatty and non-veg food and digest it well.
    I also used to sleep much better in winter nights under thick soft warm quilts compared to the sometimes unbearable hot, sticky summer nights with coolers whirring and mosquitoes buzzing around.

    1. Terrible water supply situation in summers. (At least that was the situation in Chittaranjan Park from 1993-2001, when I stayed there. We had to get water from the DJB tankers and private water suppliers quite often as the municipal water supply often went dry.)

    2. A general subset of uncaring/fearful people who walk/drive past while a person bleeds to death on the road after a ghastly accident. (This happened to one of my distant relatives in Mayur Vihar in 1995.)

    3. Rude, loud, boorish, and uncouth people. This is a minor pet peeve of mine. Call me a prude/snob, but I always felt that Delhiites in general could be a bit more sophisticated, suave, polite, genteel, classier and quieter. That would really make them more likable since most are very frank, open and good at heart.

    4. Violent and aggressive people. People who do not hesitate to abuse, slap, punch, stab or shoot at the drop of a hat. The maximum number of cases of road rage are reported in Delhi. Delhi also records the maximum number of crimes/murders arising out of pretty quarrels. I have seen the bus driver and conductor of a bus I was traveling in get into a full fledged physical brawl with another bus operators’ men (rival private group applying on the same route) right in front of my eyes, just because the other group dared to overtake the bus I was traveling in.
    No wonder many buses and trucks have this printed, (besides the “HORN O.K. Please” and “Buri Nazar Waale, Tera Muh Kala” ) —— “Jaat risky after whisky” (well, this warning is to be taken seriously!)

    5. DUST! I don’t have dust allergy, but I hate dust. And Delhi is one of the dustiest cities I have lived in. Dust insidiously follows me wherever I go. I remember I used to come back from summer vacations in Kolkata and used to find a thick layer of dust on my study table and over all my books. I didn’t like it one bit.

    6. Air and Water Pollution: Delhi still suffers from industrial air pollution even though the automobile exhausts have been controlled due to CNG. Coupled with the increasing humidity, it leads to horrible smoggy days in winter these days.
    The state of the Yamuna river used to shock me. All the foam floating in the river (industrial effluents), and the black, murky sewage filled water and the overpowering stink as you crossed the Nizamuddin Bridge or the old pontoon Bridge near Kalindi Kunj used to disgust and sadden me a lot.

    Can’t think of too much more at the moment..

    Overall, I did like living in Delhi and would still rate it as quite a good city to live in. If only people would be a bit nicer, gentler and more peaceful, and if the air and water pollution could be lessened, then Delhi would definitely be the best city to live in.


  25. IHM,

    These livability indices are a bit like the Movie reviews in the Times of India – biased with their own axes to grind, if not downright rigged.

    Bombay is THE city to be in, and live in. It is the only city I know of where language, religion, caste, do not matter. And they do NOT – irrespective of, what the rats and other sneaky little petty politicians may have one believe.

    Living in a truly cosmopolitan, meritocratic society means one breathes free.

    Agreed, it might not have the infrastructure and luxuries that come from proximity with powerful politicians, but I had rather live a free life than in a golden cage.


  26. Are bird sightings rare in Mumbai?

    Me- Not at all Reema… Parrots are particularly common, or were where we lived. And owls! We had tiny owls in our park, we used to take our kids for owl spotting int he evenings… maybe I should explore my old photographs!! I have taken pictures of egrets, herons, kingfisher, and mynas, pigeons, crows also 🙂


  27. Pingback: Where is Bombay? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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