Dayar-E-Shauq Mera, Shehr-E-Aarzoo Mera

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Between conjugated buildings, jutted roofs, kebab roasting coal smokes, and tuk-tuks. Beyond hollow stigmas and xenophobia biases, at the heart of Jamia is where this Delhi University student has found a home.

Reader Advisory – Intended dark humour can cause serious injuries to the fragile egos of monoculturalism flag bearers.

“Bhaiya Jamia jaoge?”

And after the fifth rejection, I feel like a Tamil hero trying to curse his love interest in a soup song while dancing obnoxiously to item beats with sloppy choreography. I know my amateur bargaining skills and the consistent hostile repudiation of auto-walla’s will serve no help. Who, anyway, in their full senses, would want to choke themselves in the tang gullies of Okhla Vihar, Okhla NSIC, and a bunch of more Okhla derivatives? An overcrowd of humans, the white-capped, the scarf-wrapped, old men with long beards, the indigo print kurtas that go to university, the rich Greek-God looking Kashmiri brats, racing their way to cricket practise after noon, and swarming the seating area of all food joints within a ten-metre radius by night. Beguilers, if it is the visual representation of a community that you are looking for to initiate some spicy riots, all the markers are present here.

Noor Nagar:  My misery seems to have found a home at the corner of a corner street, among
three conjugated apartments that boast magnificent balconies, a very common overstatement made by local property dealers for jutted roofs and make-shift washing places. A home built on overturned tuk-tuks and travel agent aunties who are almost universally dissatisfied with my creased cartilage line and the small-talk dodging earbuds I refuse to remove. A home on chipped metal stools, dousing chicken seekhs while the burning coal fumes play with your face like a country breeze. A home, in the dust-sniffing shopping sprees of Batla House and long walks into late nights. A home, in Fax shops and juice points, crocs over socks with the monsoon high, when overflowing drainage systems bring out the child inside.

“The next station is Jamia Millia Islamia.”

On the 15th, the flags billowed with a sense of longing, clipped on pigeon feeders and laundry nets like melted glass windows, stained pale and grey. The poles rattled now and then as the standing irony of holding
unity in a piece of cloth. Rippling over roads, they are often mocked as “Mini Pakistan” for their green haze. In the fainted screams of yesterday, of what was lost and what remains, this ghetto has withheld so much
that it has now become full. Full of meanings in torn-out posters and graffiti walls blackened with paint, as its glory is restored in the light of dawn, its spirit shines in the vivid symphony of eventide hues. And it is here,
in this bustling solitude, in the sound of the crowd, that pulls out strings of joy from the happy centre of my brain. I have found a home, a serenity for the soul.

Aayat Farooqui

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