Monday, August 29, 2011

Eating Out in Delhi - A Bucket List

Ever since I've been back in Delhi and editing Foodie Columns and the like I've meant to make a comprehensive Eating Out List like this. When I learnt that had me beat with theirs.

Seeing how it already includes several of my own favourites besides also introducing me to other classics, I'm really not complaining this time :-)



Peeli Dal at Shakahari, Chawri Bazar: Making good peeli dal is an art, but these guys excel in it, though the one at Karim's is also to die for.

Fish Fry at Ganesh, Karol Bagh (Gurudwara Chowk): The queue of cars outside this beehive of activity is a testament to the drawing power of its menu's main attraction.

Aloo Tikki at Natraj Cafe, Chandni Chowk: The tangy tikkis served in a pool of creamy dahi and a medley of chutneys are enough to make you ignore the elbow power of passers- by.

Papri Chaat outside UPSC Building, Shahjahan Road : You may have had chaat all over, but this one has something that makes even your crashing dream of entering babudom seem fine

Kakori Kebabs at Aap Ki Khatir, Khan Market: The hole- in- the- wall restaurant has moved from Nizamuddin to Khan, but the quality of its kebabs hasn't suffered.

Cream Chicken Kebabs at Salim's, Khan Market: Even the Middle Lane dogs seem to love it - if they see you eating it, they'll wait patiently around you for their turn to lick the plate.

Chicken Tikka Rolls at Khan Chacha, Khan Market: These rolls defined Khan Market for an entire generation of bunkers from Modern School - now the whole of Delhi goes to have them.

Chicken Changezi at Chicken Planet, Tyre Market, Near Filmistan: Now, you can have this beauty in air- conditioned comfort, away from the confusion at the eatery's aam admi side.

Poori Aloo of Ramchand, Chhota Bazar, Shahdara: The pooris don't get soggy because they are made with sooji and the aloo ki sabzi is drenched in imli chutney.

Chhole Bhature at Odeon Sweets, Bhagat Singh Marg, Gole Market: Some people get very possessive about their favourite chhole bhature place. Our cholesterol- laden heart beats for this one.

Mutton Dish at Ashok Meat Dhaba, Shop No. 42, Subhash Chowk, Sadar Bazar: You won't get lost trying to find this hole in the wall. Just follow the aroma of shudh desi ghee.


CP Chicken Pepper Steak at United Coffee House, E- Block, Inner Circle: A chunky piece of chicken breast bathed in a creamy mushroom sauce and accompanied by lots of veggies is our idea of bliss.

Dal Meat at Embassy, D- Block, Inner Circle: The hardy perennial has winner written all over it. The mutton pieces in it are like butter, as is the Dal. You must also have the Pindi Chana and the scrumptious Embassy Pudding.

Tomato Fish at Kwality, Regal Building: Certain classics become a part of a city's collective consciousness. This is one of them. The place also has the best caramel custard.

Double Egg Single Mutton Kathi at Nizam's Kathi Kabab, Plaza Building: This is the best of their offerings, though you must also have their Pakhtooni Keema Kofta Curry.


Set Dosa at Sagar, Defence Colony Market: You may keep complaining about the how Sagar has become a sprawling corporate enterprise, but certain favorites remain as good as they were.

Bombay Duck at Swagath, Defence Colony Market: This is the only place in the city where you can get real Bombay Duck prepared in the way it should be.

Rice with Gunpowder & Ghee, Andhra Bhawan: It's a treat that even people on a no- carb diet must indulge in once in a while. Before leaving the place, make sure you buy a bottle of gunpowder and gonkura pickles from the little stall outside.

Bisi Bele Bhath, Karnataka Food Centre, Karnataka Sangha, Rao Tula Ram Marg: Once you have had this scrumptious, soul-nourishing vegetarian meal-in-a-dish, you'll want to book a ticket to Udipi.


Chicken Pakodas at Moti Mahal Delux, Greater Kailash- I, M- Block Market: The restaurant’s signature dish is butter chicken, but the chicken pakodas win the popularity race by a mile.

Butter Chicken at Havemore, Pandara Road Market: But don’t go for the boneless chicken; the meat can be fibrous. If you’re vegetarian, dig into the soya champ ki sabzi . Kashmiri Kebabs at Gulati, Pandara Road Market: There’s nothing Kashmiri about the kebabs. These are chicken malai tikkas quilted in chickpea paste and egg yolk.

Dab Chingri at Fire, The Park, CP: If you wish to win a Bengali heart, go for this seductive prawn in coconut milk and mustard curry that comes in a green coconut shell.

Gushtaba at Chor Bizarre, Hotel Broadway, Asaf Ali Road: This is the closest you’d get to Kashmiri food as your mother-in-law would make it, though we personally prefer the rista made in the Pandit style. Veggies must have the Tamatar Chaman (tomato paneer).

Chicken Haldighati at Colonel’s Kebabs, Defence Colony Market: Once you have eaten it, you’ll forget all the rarha chicken you’ve had in your life.

Nargisi Kofta at Karim’s, Jama Masjid: It’s difficult to figure out what’s the best at Karim’s, but this one scores because of the fineness of the preparation.

Veggie Cutlets at Coffee Home, Baba Kharak Singh Marg: These oil drenched temptresses may just go out of circulation if the High Court decides in favor of the Coffee Home’s closure.

Pakistani Biryani at DeeZ Biryani & Kababs: This biryani, we are told, is cooked in the Sindhi style. We suspect they use packed masala from Pakistan. Whatever it is, it tastes great.

Mutton Mince at St Stephen’s, Delhi University: Stephanians get misty eyed at the thought of this essential part of their callow youth.

Kosha Mansho at Oh Calcutta, Nehru Place: Kolkata’s favorite mutton dish takes on the zest of Delhi to become something special. Have it with loochis, or pooris made with maida .

Mutton Barra at Bukhara, ITC Maurya, Diplomatic Enclave: People love the ones at Moti Mahal or Karim’s, but our vote goes to Bukhara’s barras because they are uniformly well- marinated.


Pizzas at Flavors, Under Moolchand Flyover: Flavors manages to deliver impeccable pizzas from its wood- fired oven at any time of the day. Our favorite is the Vegetarian Piri Piri.

Khao Suey at The Kitchen, Khan Market: It’s impossible to get into the restaurant and the guy at the door is rude, but this Burmese delicacy is Delhi’s winter must- have.

Patrani Mekong Basa, Indian Accent (The Manor, Friends Colony West): It feels like the fish has just popped out of the river — it melts in the mouth and the masala isn’t allowed to overpower it. Veggies must go for the paneer pinwheels.

Black Cod with Miso at 360 Degrees, The Oberoi: When the fish is silken and the sauce is made to be perfect, you won’t miss Nobu, where it was invented.

Stalin’s Beard at Nanking, Vasant Kunj (opp. DPS Vasant Kunj): Potato has never tasted better. Even among their brilliantly innovative dim sum, this one stands out.

Peking Duck at China Kitchen, Hyatt Regency: This is justifiably the restaurant’s signature dish. The slivers of duck melt in the mouth, for the chefs prepare the bird by pumping air into it.

Hunanese Braised Prawns at The Chinese, Middle Circle, CP: There’s something about the sauce that stays in your edible memory.

Green Tea Noodles at The Monk, Galaxy Hotel, Sec. 15, Gurgaon: We thought it was impossible to get these noodles outside Sakura, but we were wrong.

Dim Sum at Tea House of the August Moon, Taj Palace: Best for Sunday afternoons. Ask for bok choy in garlic sauce for a change of taste.


Kadha Prasad at Gurudwara Bangla Sahib: It may be blasphemous to go to the Gurudwara on a Sunday morning with the thought of food, but the stomach has its own logic.

Badam Halwa at Saravana Bhawan, Janpath, CP: This temple of good vegetarian food serves the best badam halwa redolent of shudh desi ghee .

Kancha Golla at Annapurna Mishtanna Bhandar, Chandni Chowk: This is the finest address for Bengali sweets. We could list many must- haves, but this the best.

Saffron Lassi at Kaleva, Bangla Sahib Road, Gole Market: You can’t spend a summer without it. Nor can you let the winter pass by without their imarti and ghevar .

Chocolate Pudding at Angels in My Kitchen, Defence Colony: This is the mouth- watering reason why Def Col residents swear by Angels.

Jalebis at Old & Famous Jalebiwala, Dariba, Chandni Chowk: The man playing video games on his laptop at the counter may not have manners, but people still queue up for the soft jalebis straight out of the vast kadhai .

Karachi Halwa at Chaina Ram, Next to Fatehpuri Masjid: This is the last place you’d find this disappearing delicacy, and the near-extinct Sohan Halwa. They deserve to live.

Hot Butter Scotch at Nirula’s: We are not being facetious, but this is one buttery treat that is worth every milligram of bad cholesterol.

Neembu Soda and Pan at Prince Pan, Greater Kailash- I, M- Block Market: We can’t think of a better way to end one’s meal, or one’s life.

If you have any more suggestions, please mention those in comments section.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Blind Date

Well, he looked the part
I thought he might play,
until he called for a steak
medium rare
with a side of rack of lamb,
staring at my tofu
and quiche,
whilst expounding his distaste,
for vegan beliefs.
“A poet?” he exclaimed,
no attempt even, to disguise,
how much of a surprise,
I had turned out to be.
“How very queer”.
His ex had been,
some sort of engineer.
I nodded politely.
“Sure,” I said,
secretly relieved,
that we’d agreed to meet
here, for atleast
it meant we could each
go our own way.
Just a few more minutes-
he's brought his wheels,
and I, my feet.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Football meets Poetry

There was the small matter of how Ryan knew close to nothing about football in the first place. That it was dull, was fairly an accurate guess - and I was in agreement with him. His love for rampant nationalism when it didn't involve guns however, had to win out in the end.

"The World Cup is a time to indulge in stereo-typing and loads of name-calling in pubs across the world anyway!"

Excellent. he'd found himself another reason then.

Five of his poems feature in a collaborative project developed by Dave Coates and Al innes that list 32 poems, one for each of 32 competing nations. Dear Ry, I'm especially proud of you this time. Much cooler than being able to out-drink me!

All the poems are available to read online at

Most are heartbreakingly lovely, and all in all, a wonderful project that captured my interest enough for me to want to share it here. My own favourite was the poetry of
Sasha de Buyl-Pisco, especially her GHANA.



‘How it happened that bird woman became
fish woman is unknown yet. Among the
hypotheses a Latin transcription mistake,
from pennis (feathers) into pinnis (fins).’

Bird-woman didn’t know water,
had never tasted sea. Landlocked,
sky bound – no man would ever spy her in the
noonday wink of hunger and sun and think
mermaid. She came from air, from tree.

Her wings were freedom, her sky everything.
When she was struck down, she thought the sky
had rejected her, a lover grown bored and
her left forced to move on feet unused
to gait or step. Picking a direction,
she walked until she found shore.

Here, the blue fell downwards, and mirrored
up in confusion. Bird-woman saw two suns,
two sets of sky reflecting. The second seemed
colder and more solid; grounded.
When she was held up to her waist
cradled by this heavy sky, she found
she had no need for wings.

Sasha de Buyl-Pisco

The project that started out on a website is now a published anthology of poetry available for purchase here.


There are only a few events that truly catch the world’s attention. Maybe the Olympic Games, or the Haitian Earthquake Appeal. Maybe even Avatar. The World Cup is unique among sporting events. Unlike the Olympics, where the best-funded, best-equipped athletes usually come out on top, the World Cup rewards positive play. The biggest teams are there, the Italians face off against the Brazilians, but occasionally a second-tier team pulls off a minor upset. Maybe in a penalty shoot-out, maybe a goal-keeping blunder. Whatever transpires, it is on the World stage, with the eyes of every country fixed on it. What makes poetry so powerful is that it has the ability to reflect that attention back onto those taking part, onto the people and places around the globe who make up the store of memories and myths.

But the real magic of the World Cup is the fact that millions around the world are focused on one place, in one time. We hope this collection can take that magic, the magic of following your home team or adopted heroes, minnows and giants alike, and bring it to life through poetry. If people take something from a riddling 11-line poem, or climb inside a 22-line narrative and walk around, they may find something that moves them. We hope that both football fans and non-football fans can realise that the World Cup is about more than football, it’s a house party in the global village, and we’re all invited. Paperback: 36 pages

Published: 18 July 2010
Author: Multiple Authors (see below)
Ericka Duffy
ISBN-13: 978-1907811050

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Monday, March 09, 2009

Genesis of our Sexual Predilection

In that moment,
I am her willing prisoner.
my whole body,
between those fingers
that fervently reach for mine.

I am spinning, soaring,
winged and warm,
beating, flashing, frantic fluttering,
of hummingbirds at dawn.
The world meanwhile,
like honeyed spice,
golden, glittering stained glass hues,
reflecting ice.
A rush of blood to the head

For me,
this simple touch –
is as lovers do,
when their limbs drape,
and shape each other.
As we walk our worship,
this public attraction -
two tired children,
who at long last
are free.

The streets consider
their arcane dilemma -
To look away?
To shame?
Or to censure?

What care we,
Who are living
Our wonder years,
Of brown grass love
And song?
A narcotic dream
Of poppy fields,
Stretching toward the sky.

Our cheeks may blush
A scarlet red,
Spreading strawberry dusk.
But in the end,
We are seventeen.
Ever the optimists,
Invincible zealots -
A revolution in the making.

Friday, October 10, 2008


We found Rufus in the backyard deck listening to Led Zepellin and eating an omellete. Although he was alone, the table was set for four with a complete set of linen napkins and matching cutlery.

He didn't seem at all surprised to see us. That was part of his persona. Rufus never appeared surprised about anything. At 20 years, he'd already accomplished more than most men twice his age. It was rumoured that aside from dealing, he was also a partner in a used car lot/body shop and various other ventures. Nobody who knew him had ever seen him sleep.

Even though I had only intended to see him for as long as it took to get the eighth, he insisted on cooking us breakfast. Natasha and I sat at the kitchen counter while he beat eggs. He explained that even when he ate alone he liked to set a full table. The mere act of setting extra places made for good karma- so that even when he was not expecting guests, there existed tangible evidence announcing that he was open to the possibility!

Back on the deck I explained to Rufus about Natasha, leaving out the details I didn't think he needed to know. She sat inside meanwhile, quite content, with her omelette and orange juice.

I noticed Rufus looking at her.
-Did I mention she was 14?
-My interest, I assure you, is purely anthropological.
-The anthropology of jailbait.
-She's an intense little chick.
-She's Russian. We're born intense.
-With all due respect, Berman, you and her aren't even the same species.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Hocus Pocus

Jason wilder, on his TV Show once said, that the trouble with conservationists was that they never considered the costs in terms of jobs and living standards of eliminating fossil fuels or doing something with grabage other than dumping it in the ocean and so on.

Ed bergeron, veteran of several debates on environmentalism, said to him, 'Good! Then I can write the epitaph for thes once salubrious blue-green orb.' He meant the planet.

His epitaph which he said, whould be carved in big letters in a wall of thr Grand Canyon,for the flying saucer people to find, was this:


Only he didn't say 'doggone.'

Friday, February 16, 2007

I awaken to a bloated sun,

Crimson red,

A giant’s plaything,

Bloodying a pale yellow sky.

Chocolate coffee, oatmeal that blends

into my table, china bowl and all.

The panes of my window are fogged a misty grey,

like the cool shadows of my wall.

While the grass gleams emerald,

Wet from last nights rain.

In the distance soft blue trees

Stain the edges of an idling afternoon.

And I, undress, dissecting

Every impulse of the heart.

Desperately seeking words

To fit brutal black lines.

Shrill prayers try, tear down the fence

That opens to a simpler world.

Where all is tranquil.

A fading nothingness.

Stone white. Bone white.

Empty. Blank.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Sweet flesh,
summer scented longing.
Kiwi in a bowl.

Slash of steel,
slices green,
welcome ocean of respite,
the sight,
of splendid sea like skin.

Fingers trace,
tender, practised.
Burst of citrus,
tropical tang against tongue
that sucks fingers clean.

More pleasure
as they find again
little bumps of black seed.
Clinging, lover like,
an intimacy
arousing, envy.

Only fruit
can be so flawless.
How unromantic
to eat them now?
And what a dreadful waste.

The doorbell sounds.
And at once,

ceramic bowl of emerald treasure
is abandoned.
Forgotten as if,
it never even was.

And with it,
certain mid morning rhetoric.
on sunday mornings,
always inspire
the oddest ever sentiments
in me.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Tomorrow I know,
will be glorious-
a cherry blossom morning.
When only tonight,
the darkness spills,
like ink,
across the skies.

So that memories of then,
we reached for each other,
Your fingers brushing away sleep,
lips awakening desire,
waltz across the shadows
that stir awake,
in the delicious sweep
of sleep

Those ardent whispers,
fevered, urgent,
lie tangled inside,
safe within my breast.
While the rest of me
breathes in,
the scent of you,
from off my pillow.

When the lights fade,
I know,
I will find more verse -
To sing over and over,
in a stubborn sort of longing
until you
are with me again.

And I could live this way,
in deep belief,
Letting the fires of love
warm me,
before I let their flames
my muted tempesteous world.

Monday, July 03, 2006


I know that we have all changed and are suddenly busy with finding our own place in the world. Now, there are the impossible walls we put up around us, the uncomfortable silences that thrash below the surface of inconsequential chatter and a chasm of differences in all us individuals... How easily we have all grown up...

Is it silly that I believe we will come to each other for when tears fall or smiles break out on our faces? I pray that no matter where this crazy world takes us, nothing will ever change so much that we're not all still friends.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Delhi Summer

Summers in Delhi are special. They are very different from other summers in other cities, with its own unique taste and texture and feel that you have to live before you love. I for one am yet to love.

For me so far, it has only been a miserable and oppressive sunlight that beats down on you, dust that rises to resettle in your skin and hair at the slightest breath of movement, noise of heavy traffic that permeats the shimmering glint of heat, reflections of smoldering tarmac and harried people trying to find shade, jostling you in the streets... Essentially I am hot, bothered and in all probability dehydrated as well.

"Lovable no doubt, but a dried out prune all the same" in the words of someone, who from above statement, is obviously quite wisdomous... Actually what he said was "Ohh I LOVE prunes!!!" with a great deal of enthusiasm, when I complained of resembling one off late. I figure mathematic rules of "if a=b, and b=c then a=??" should apply to language as well. Also I'm much starved for compliments these days, and vanity does not let me sleep in peace.


Sunday, April 02, 2006

In another 3 weeks I will be home. The knowledge of one year gone past is yet to sink in. Not now, not ever really, can I recall a 'homesickness' so to speak. Merely a "sick of here and now" accompanied by a strong something that would draw me back into a world that I thought, had given me everything it ever could.

Now I have to prepare to leave, all that I have known for a year - college, friends and the satisfaction of being busy. And prepare to be enveloped by a gilded summer in a city that I can never cease to love.

Once again there will be more streets than roads, sand between my toes from walks on the beach, nights that are quiet because the city is asleep and warm winds that caress the sunshine. I will find that I can comfortably predict with an uncanny sense of accuracy, all those who will surround me - friends who I have known long enough and well enough to miss. My father will disagree with my politics, just so he can check for himself, if I have grown at all as a person. There will be visible relief on my sister's face. Vanilla softies will sell for lesser, South Indian coffee will stem my caffeine addiction, bookstores will be smaller and adorably cluttered, the radio channels will sound better and there will be grass wherever I go.

Finally, I can leave behind all the tax-exclusive prices, noisy traffic and endlessly accumulating dust. I can leave it all behind for my own bed back home, with its characteristic soft sheets that my mother changes every week while thinking of me.

Monday, March 27, 2006

When I was three I learnt to sing-song 'Twinkle twinkle little star' and clap my hands at the same time from sheer lack of accoustic accompaniment. Then, I remember being oohed and aahed over, wonderment in the eyes of my parents and an idiotic sort of pleasure apparent in any adult who happened to overhear.

Fifteen years later I taught it to my nephew. Only a little differently.

"Twinkle Twinkle little bat
How i wonder what you're at
Up above the world so high
Like a tea-tray in the sky"

He coo's it beautifully. Lewis Caroll could not do it more justice. And his mother proudly watches on. Oohing and aahing and clapping for him.

And about fifteen years from now, my own sister will be a mother. She will also be a doctor. An Obstetrician or an Oncologist or a Cardio-specialist - names that I have learnt to spell with great difficulty. Starched white coat, glasses perched on her nose, and an intimidating number of framed certificates on her wall. I already have a rhyme to teach her son. This one I believe, was written by one Mr. Ian D. Bush.

"Twinkle, twinkle little star
I don't wonder what you are
For the spectroscopic ken
tells me you are hydrogen"

His mother will be proud too. Perhaps she will not clap along or clap too loud, but she will indulge him with a smile. History after all, repeats itself. Doesn't it?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

I like to think theres more to a donkey than just floppy ears and liquid eyes. They seem to me, rather bright and intelligent creatures. When they're not smelling the flowers, they're chomping on them. That in my world is having your cake and eating it too.

Brings back fond memories of amma's garden. With its boughs of purple-pink bougainvillae, crawling vines of jasmine, cheery orange-yellow dahlias and proliferating white lilies in a corner blue-tiled pool. One summer, I remember the apple tree was bowed down with fruit. The wind would carry a whiff of saccharine promise all the way up to the open window near the roof.

And all I have now is neatly cemented walkways and black tar roads. How do people learn to live so easily without wet grass?

Donkeys are a joyous lot.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Today is different for me. It is 6 a.m. in the morning and I am up already. And yet it is no different from every other day. It is in fact, any other day in the other world I inhabit, called home. There, my father is making himself a cup of tea right now. He is opening the windows, smiling at sunshine and picking up his newspaper. Tick-tocking away better than clockwork, my father.

For the next three hours he will be busy. And gloriously happy. Left to himself with his few pages of quiet, compelling script and bitter, scalding brew. I could never be still that long.

“But I’m sitting on a rocking chair” he reasons, smiling all the while at me. "How is that sitting still?"

Grown-ups sure have comic wisdom.

Those are some pretty nice answers I thought... :o)

Posted by Picasa
Sleeplessness adores me,
It keeps coming back for more
I see myself basking in the glow of my nightlamp

or pacing my room..
Dreaming open eyed,
Click-clacking back and forth on my keyboard,
Staring at a meaninglesss jumble of words appearing on the screen.
As the moonlight streams in my window
and the clock races towards dawn,
Every now and then i find,
Once again, I'm counting the cracks on my ceiling,
Or ticking of chores on a mental to-do list;
As i turn over, roll back and forth - restless.
I must be addicted to the quiet, ghostly midnight hours,
When the world sleeps - conquered by slumber.
When crickets screech - their eerie sounds magnified
And the leaves of trees rustle in the wind.
For sooner or later, more often sooner than not -
I crave the caresses of a lumpy bedspread.
Boredom. Pride and prejudice beckons, but only just so much... Want 'sitting cross-legged in amma's kitchen while she mock-force-feeds me masala-dosai' right now... Some rain would be nice too. Instead am stuck in a city that breeds dust like its going out of style. And don't get me started on the boredom.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Defense Mechanism picks up a paintbrush... Results are of course decidedly juvenile. :P Posted by Picasa
Whipping wind,
Spring's first storm,
Cliff of rocks, grey.
Old newspapers,
Creaking porch-swing,
Tea-kettle on a tray.

Country roads,
Blue Mustang,
Stretching cornflower fields.
Red-checked blankets
Sparkling wine.
Dew-drenched grasses green.

Summertime sunshine,
Bright red rooftop tiles.
White Verendah,
Verse of Myna-cries.

Seashells, sunsets,
Tide-soaked jeans,
Footprints in the sand.
Silver moonlight,
Quiet of night,
Walking hand in hand.


"Blank- that which is not allowed meaning, form or articulation. Noise- that which heightens, builds itself. " (-Blank Noise Project : Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore.)

...this is my testimonial towards the Blank Noise cause.

Outrage is good. Feel my anger. Watch how it radiates off me. Feed from it. When it started it was an overwhelming sense of horror, and a numbing sort of pain. At the filth associated with my body. A woman's body. Yes, I am a feminist. A feminist in my own right. My body is my own private domain. When you stare, lech, leer, grab, grope, gesticulate or speak your obscene mind, you violate it. You abuse my sacred space. Why shouldn't I fight you? Tell me... What are you looking at?

A loud voice as I step out the house- Where do you think you are you going?
I'll answer the question though. I'll answer it here and now. Because that is what I can do. I can look you in the eye and tell you that there is nothing wrong with me. Nothing wrong with the thousands of other women who walk the city streets everyday just like me.

"You're going out now? It's past 6 in the evening? And where is your dupatta?"

"Take it off. The lipstick. It makes you look like a slut."

"It doesn't suit you one bit. Wear something else..
Alright fine! Do what you want! Go out looking like that. Get yourself into trouble.. Your generation is about irrational rebellion anyway!"

It is not MY skirt that is too short, or MY clothes that are transparent. They are fine. I dress to express. Keep your hands to yourself. Look where you ought to be looking. My hair looks better when it falls loosely in waves around me, I like my lipstick dark. The kaajal and earrings are so I smile, when I look at myself in a mirror. Don't stifle my body. Don't stifle my person. If you can be out after dusk, then so can I. I work the same job as you, I work the same hours. I do it all, and I do it better.

"I'm not looking. I'm not looking down there, or anywhere. I can though. I have two eyes don't I? I can look at whatever I want, for however long I care."

"It was an accident! Are you crazy? Why are you screaming?"

"Sorry." (grins)

Enough. To the passing cyclist who thinks he can put his hand out and grab whatever he wants, to the pedestrian who thinks its ok to brush up against us, to the auto-wallas who adjust their rear-view mirrors when we climb into their vehicles, to the conductor who "helps us" on and off the bus, to every anonymous passenger on the subway who grinds his crotch into our backs... To all of you, ENOUGH. If this is who you are, then there is something wrong with you, not me. Something terribly wrong. And that means we need to correct it. Fix it.

"DON'T. Don't look at them. Look down, KEEP YOUR EYES DOWN. Just walk past them. Ignore them."

"Stop crying. Don't make such an issue of it for god's sake!

"SHUT UP. Don't talk back. Just keep your mouth shut and walk. Faster!"

I know that I'm expected to put up with everything you do. It is the stereotype a "woman" must twist to fit - she must yield. I know I must keep my mouth shut, when you whistle at me, howl at my legs, or scream obscenities as I walk past you. I am to keep my eyes downcast always. Confrontation is what makes an experience "dirty". Until then, it is a secret. "An occurrence". Something I can cloak by simply not acknowledging it. Well I refuse. I refuse to be silent any longer. I may not be your mother, or your sister, but I am a citizen of this state who has a right to be out on the streets. Sometimes I like to watch traffic go by, take in the sights, the sounds, the smell of my surroundings. I like losing myself in my environment. Let me celebrate my existance in peace. I am not trying to "look available". I am not available. If I have to, I will do more than scream or cry out. I can, and will cut u; do you bodily harm. Watch me. It is about time I did.

"Oh .. For 'that' I keep a can of pepper spray in my bag."

"It's alright. Not all that bad really.. Whenever I'm walking, I carry my knapsack in front of me. They leave me in peace."

"You wear sarees an awful lot these days you know. It's all I ever see you in. You're so lucky it suits you."

Yes, this is my body. It is different from yours. I am warm and soft and curvy. I have breasts. I am beautiful. I will not be ashamed of how I look, simply because you are attracted to me. Your lust for my body is not a criterion that decides whether I'm a 'good' or 'bad' girl. You have no business judging me. Don't set me modicums of 'decency'. Eve-teasing is more than just a joke, or a prank. It shapes my lifestyle. It makes me rethink who I am, where I go, what I wear, how I sit, stand, talk, walk in my own city. At a subconscious level, it works to repress my sexuality, and impedes on my freedom to be all I want to be. I am neither scared nor ashamed nor frustrated anymore. I am angry. You got a problem with that precious?

P.S - Thanks Koyel, for inspiring me enough to write this in the first place. This one's for you.