For all the jokes that I have ever cracked at the expense of Ghaziabad, I think karma has served me well by sending me to a place that even Ghaziabad refuses to include within its territory. Shahdara is the far north-east end of Delhi, and it is so close to UP that if you sneeze hard enough in Delhi’s direction, the momentum alone may propel you into Mayawati’s lap.
Shahdara is just like any other part of Delhi, except the fact that a 500 metre drive in a car during peak hours can make you wish for a nuclear holocaust because either you’ll not be able to go beyond the speed of 8 kmph or you’ll go faster than that and your car will end up having more scratches than Mahesh Bhatt’s body after the humid season of the year. Roads, somehow, are smooth enough, mostly because of a layer of Tuberculosis-rich phlegm that local crowd here donates openly to the society.
A town is as good as the people living in it. That makes Shahdara the Gurgaon of East Delhi, only without the excess money or earthquake-resistant buildings and yet way too many Chinese food vans. The humility and education levels seem pretty similar, with only the question ‘Key Dikkat ho gayi tau?’ missing before a physical assault.
An average person in Shahdara either has a job of painting the wall corners orange-red, if you know what I mean, or is a property dealer. They can be differentiated very easily on the basis of their abdominal girths and fashion sense. The wall painters wear the tightest possible ‘Pooma’ jeans, and are skinny. The property dealers wear whatever can accommodate their Extra-large-a-sign-of-prosperity tummy.
The local market is called, and I am not making this up, ‘Pummy’ market, possibly to honour the first chicken-roll shop owner or the first Punjabi woman to open a Parlour here. I tried a lot, but I couldn’t think of a good Pamela Anderson joke to insert here. Pummy market is full of chicken corners and alcohol shops, hence the tag-line ‘Pummy… Aapki khushiyon ka rakhe khayaal’. Yes, I made up the tag line myself.
University College of Medical Sciences, however, is a nice place with clean campus and a well-maintained hospital. I think I’ll be able to feel at home here for the next three years. About the question of missing MAMC, who needs Connaught Place or ITO when you have Pummy Market…! More will follow when I shift to hostel here. Till then, Do the Shahdara!