Delhi has recently been given a rather bad time in the media, particularly as a city for women (or perhaps more appropriately not for women). With this in the back of my mind, I now find myself pondering whether it is a city I could choose to live in.
I went to Delhi last week to see a band play (Gotye, who was just fantastic), do a spot of shopping and catch up with some friends. It was a slightly indulgent trip, but one I looked forward to it. As soon as I landed in Delhi, I just felt relaxed and dare I say happy. The streets are wide and clean(er), the temperature dry and cool and the air certainly felt less polluted than what I had become used to in Mumbai. Driving down the streets, there were less slums and far more trees. It just felt like a pleasant change.
My point of reference for comparison is Mumbai, and when I look at some of the elements that contribute to quality of life, Delhi certainly does come out winning. The sidewalks are easy to walk on (and I walk a lot), the Metro is just fantastic and did I mention the city is much cleaner and less congested than Mumbai. These all make Delhi feel like a nice place to live. From my experiences, I have also found the quality of restaurants to be better in Delhi (I can already feel a wave of Mumbaikars ready to dispute this point), and the shopping is definitely better and easier to get around, with some great shopping districts.
On the downside, Delhi is certainly not as safe for women. I wouldn’t dare wander out at night to flag down a rickshaw in Delhi the way I do in Mumbai. Where I live in Bandra, I can even walk home alone on some roads after midnight, something that is just unheard of in Delhi. Whilst this isn’t a pleasant factor about a city, I don’t think it is a deal-breaker for me personally. After all, I am not in my 20’s and I certainly don’t party very hard nor late, so being a bit more planned about how I am going to get home isn’t a huge issue for me.
Probably the most unpleasant thing about Delhi to me is the men. Yes I know some lovely men from Delhi, and this comment is not directed at them. It is more the men I don’t know and the way they look at me (and any woman for that matter). A look from a Delhi man makes me feel nothing short of being molested. It is hard to explain, but I don’t know any woman who doesn’t feel the same way. It is enough to make me think twice about moving there.
Whilst in Delhi this time, I did have a chat with some friends about my thoughts on shifting homes, and they were encouraging but cautious. For now, I have no immediate plans, but I haven’t discounted the idea of moving. It is something that I will ponder over the coming months as I get ready to live through another Mumbai monsoon.
If you had the choice, where would you choose to live?