We skipped the blog post for a couple of months but not without a reason. Delhi played host to the much touted G-20 summit and there were many drafts that this blogger wrote. There were numerous elements that needed lampooning, each one better than the other. Eventually it resulted in each draft landing in the Recycle Bin because each next crazy thing that came along was even more laughable. It wasn’t funny to witness your own government incur so much expenditure on a presidency that comes to each member by rotation and, therefore, is no big deal. Dilliwalahs aren’t cribbing much though for if it was not for this G20 Summit they wouldn’t have discovered the pleasure of driving through a 1.3 Km long tunnel under Pragati Maidan with kindergarten-standard murals on the walls. And then to top it all Dilliwalahs got a couple of extra holidays with the liquor shops staying functional. Complete bliss! The final word on this summit, as far as this blogger is concerned, came from a young Dilliwalah, a friend’s nephew. “Give me one reason why this G-20 summit could not be conducted on zoom?” he quizzed. Someone needs to tell this poor kid that the next year is 2024!
Even before the PWD in Delhi could take back those white plastic planters (there were a few hundred thousand of these placed along the route from Delhi airport to Lutyens Delhi), Mr Biden reached Vietnam and said what he had to say. Having been denied a presser here in Delhi post the bilateral talks (press conferences are so pre-2014 things, anyway), POTUS came out rather bluntly as if communicating: “Ab Joe cahey ho woh ho – I need to speak my mind”. Here is what the US President said in Hanoi: “As I always do, I raised the importance of respecting human rights, the vital role of civil society, and a free press building a strong and prosperous country with Mr Modi.” Oh, my mother of democracy, this hurt deep. It still does.
Post the summit tamasha, life in Delhi resumed as if nothing had happened. The smog came back as it always does in October-November each year. Our man AK’s cough came back too except it now sounds more like a growl of an injured fox. Thankfully that trademark muffler of his is missing and if a rumour in old Delhi is to be believed – that muffler has been gifted to one Anna Hazare as a symbol of gratitude. Dilliwalahs, like the rest of India, have taken to the ongoing cricket world cup which is far more significant than a political summit. Delhi played host to some really interesting matches including the Afghanistan-England slugfest. Interestingly the match brought spotlight on capital’s own little Kabul. Nestled around Krishna Market in Lajpat Nagar, this little corner was well represented at Firozeshah Kotla grounds for this match. The Hashmatullah Shahidi led team’s victory over reigning champions, England was celebrated with typical Afghani song and dance. The party began at the cricket ground and the singing and dancing continued right through the journey of Afghan fans in the Metro. With the Afghanistan team topping the popularity charts, speculations are high among Dilliwalahs that Aam Aadmi Party may even put up a candidate with Afghani roots in the next assembly elections.
StateOfDelhi Suggests: Get to Lajpat Nagar and walk to Little Kabul to savour Afghan delicacies and Afghani roti dished out by Chopaan Kebab, Al-Naseeb, Afghan Durbar, Kabul Delhi among other Afghani joints. The best way to get here is by the Delhi Metro. Lajpat Nagar is an interchange station between Violet Line and Pink Line. Sample that famous Afghani naan and the possibility of your getting hooked to it is rather high. Zomato and Swiggy deliver it too but then the fun is in getting out of your dwelling and sampling it while it gets served straight from the oven..
StateOfDelhi Stumbled Upon: The clause 78 of the Delhi Declaration that goes as follows:
“… commitment to promote respect for religious and cultural diversity, dialogue and tolerance. We also emphasize that freedom of religion or belief, freedom of opinion or expression, the right to peaceful assembly, and the right to freedom of association are interdependent, inter-related and mutually reinforcing and stress the role that these rights can play in the fight against all forms of intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief.”
“In this regard, we strongly deplore all acts of religious hatred against persons, as well as those of a symbolic nature without prejudice to domestic legal frameworks, including against religious symbols and holy books,” the G20 said in its joint declaration.
If ever there was a satirical piece in the annals of official treaties and declarations then it has to be this!