I am a humble middle-class half-Brahmin half-Punjabi guy, born in a government hospital and brought up in West Delhi, which makes me a true Delhiite, and that can be verified by two traits: my way of ogling at women and my ever-growing fear of Jats from Haryana. I have lived most of my life in Ashok Nagar, a part of constituency of Tilak Nagar West Delhi, which has a predominantly Punjabi crowd, or as people from CR park say: “Shaala pura raat DJ bondh nohi kiya”.
Tilak Nagar is a cosy little area which has small row houses, and loads of parking issues solved on the basis of a fair I-look-stronger-than-you-so-the-space-is-mine way , which basically means that if you don’t have a huge paunch, you have to park your car two streets away from your home. Janak Puri, the nearest neighborhood, has got huge houses with ample parking space and makes Tilak Nagar feel like the refugee Indian colony near Dubai. Tilak Nagar is a punjabi-majority area which means that I know a lot of Manpreets and Jasmeets and also that I have seen more Royal Enfields (Bullet/Boollt bike) than the entire rest of Delhi combined. Also, Janak Puri and Tilak Nagar combined hold the record for the most car-tattoos ever bought, because we judge the awesomeness of a person by the tiger coming out of his car’s boot.
Tilak Nagar is famous for its decades-old market,which has only two kinds of shops: ‘Ladeej‘ garments and Gol gappas. The gol gappas are one of the best in Delhi because of lack of both bisleri water and hygiene, as we all know the golden rule: If the server ain’t scratching his balls, the gol-gappas ain’t scratching your taste buds. The market is now seeing a slight dip in footfall because of a certain Pacific mall (also known as the West Delhi Selfie center) just a km away from here.
The market has taken the discovery of soya chaaps rather well, with about a dozen shops opening up in a matter of months all with names within different permutations and combinations of the only three or four words. Hence the shops are named, and I’m not making this up: Waah ji Waah, Waah Soya, Pindi Soya, Soya Corner, Chaap Corner, Veerji Soya, so on and so forth. Of course there is a Chawla Chicken corner too, because what kind of a Punjabi area is it if there are no cars parked outside a Chawla chicken corner and people having alcohol with rumali rolls.
Being a by-the-book middle class area, the kids can be seen crying about not wanting to go to school in the morning, retired men and women playing Modi vs Kejriwal in the afternoon, Jasmeet Singhs riding their Bullets behind Manpreet Kaurs’ scooties in the evening and traffic jams and abuse-everyone sessions due to vegetable vendors in the night. But we Tilak Nagarians, if there actually is such a word, are a united and happy lot, because when we are not fighting and abusing each other for parking space, we are busy dancing on dhol and bursting crackers. Because it doesn’t matter if it is a wedding or a world cup win, when in Tilak Nagar, do not keep calm, and say Burrrrraaahhh!