A city is not defined by its buildings or its roads, rather the people of the city define it. A city is just a shell. The people make it warm and welcoming. Without the people, a city would not be a city but just a concrete park.
Delhi and Chandigarh are two different cities; not very different but not entirely the same either. Both cities have buildings, homes, and markets but completely different souls. In the short span of three months that I have stayed in Chandigarh, I’ve come to know it in bits and pieces. While there are a few stark differences that make me miss Delhi almost every day, there are also times when I’m thankful that I don’t live in the gas chamber anymore. While some of these differences make you think, some are just silly. Come, let’s take a look at a few of them:
1) Almost zero honking: The roads of Delhi are not just famously jam packed but also noisy with a completely uncontrolled decibel level. The drivers honk and honk and there’s no end to it. If a person on an average spends 3 hours on road per day, then they spend 180 minutes listening to the beautiful sound of honking. In Chandigarh, this surprisingly is not true. Thank God!
2) Trees exist here! WOW: Even though Delhi has its share of parks and greenery, nothing can beat the amount of trees in Chandigarh. All the roads are lined by beautiful Gulmohars, Neems and Peepals. It’s a treat to my nature deprived eyes and toxic gas filled lungs.
3) Doesn’t take a century to reach from point A to point B: Travelling by road in Delhi is not easy. The traffic, honking and pollution make it even worse. Metro lessens the trouble but not if personal space is an issue for you. In Chandigarh, however, you can get from anywhere to anywhere in maximum 20 minutes by just taking a cab.
4) People here are polite: Delhiites are not known for their politeness. Meeting polite people here was a blessing and a sore wound to my self esteem. (Note to my fellows-sorry if I’m not polite; it’s the Delhi-wali vibe probably).
5) Hailing an auto is much easier in Chandigarh: You don’t have to plan in advance on how to convince the auto driver to take you to your destination. You don’t have to blackmail him or threaten him with a ‘I’ll complain to the police.’ dialogue. You don’t have to emotionally blackmail them to reduce the fare. You just have to get into an auto. Or better yet, book a cab.
6) Complete absence of bargaining culture: Now I might be wrong about this because I have hardly gone out for street shopping in Chandigarh. But from whatever shopping I’ve done till now, I’ve noticed that people are not very keen on bargaining here. They see it as a sign of frugality (which it is, to be honest). But as a girl from Delhi, who emotionally blackmails an auto driver to reduce the auto fare, it is utterly devastating.
7) DJs: DJs in Delhi play a nice, balanced mix of Hindi, English and Punjabi songs. However, in Chandigarh, very understandably, they play only Punjabi music with a few Hindi songs. Being a girl, who doesn’t listen to much Punjabi music, DJs in Chandigarh make me miss the DJs of Delhi.
8) People in Chandigarh take interior decoration way too seriously: All the houses I’ve been to in Chandigarh are always beautiful and spotless on the inside. Furniture, curtains, show pieces, everything is matching with proper colour schemes and design. In Delhi, that’s not true for most of the people. Until and unless you’re stinky rich.
9) Everybody knows everybody here: It’s considered a coincidence in Delhi if one finds a school or college friend at the mall or some other nice place. In Chandigarh, it’s not a coincidence because everyone knows everyone. The person standing in front of you in a line to order zinger burger at KFC could turn out to be someone’s someone. The person you shared a cab with was probably the person you had seen in college the previous day. There are no strangers in Chandigarh because everyone already knows everyone.
10) Chandigarh is a happy city for underage drinkers: It’s easier to get booze here. Enough said.
(Disclaimer: The author realises that this is a never-ending debate. All the comparisons’ derived are from the writer’s personal experiences and not intended hurt anyone’s biased feelings for one of the cities mentioned.)
About the Author:
Bhavika is a typical and proud Delhite in Chandigarh who is outspoken about her opinions and beliefs. She is a passionate dog lover and can’t, for heaven’s sake, decide if she loves coffee more or tea. As someone who can’t say no to new opportunities, she loves to meet new people and takes on ever new task as a new adventure. She likes to vent out through poetry too.