It might seem obvious that nothing much needs to be said of a place that brings about nausea and a headache on first contact. But something does need to be said of Delhi because it is home to 45 million people, unlike Chernobyl, and many of these 45 million people have a lot to say in its defence.
So here I am saying something about Delhi in a fair and balanced way.
I fucking hate Delhi. I hate it for many reasons - most of them subjective - but I hate it most of all because I could not breathe the air. In my opinion, there is nothing more objective than breathing (because you do it without thinking about it) and not being able to breathe is a pretty good reason to hate a place.
I hate it also because it is the heart of the hypocrisy and irrationality that is India. It is the heart of this mangled, spread-eagled corpse that we are supposed to love and respect. It is the heart of a hurricane of lies and corruption, of cynicism and manipulation, of the machinations of a carefully controlled democracy, controlled by people with not a single democratic bone in their bodies.
Now that I’ve run through the objective reasons of why I hate Delhi let me give you some observations that perhaps feed into this intense hatred I have.
1. The people on the streets stare at you with either a terrifying dullness or an inexplicable aggression. We spoke to one man who would lose to a tape-worm - lose at anything, including giving directions.
2. The people at parties stare at you with a sick hunger or a terrifying fullness.
3. The best thing about Delhi are the Uber drivers, which shows that Delhi cannot save itself - help must come from outside.
4. A piece of layered fabric designed by some foreign multinational that goes around your nose and mouth is your best friend in Delhi.
5. Wealth must be displayed. If it cannot be displayed it is not wealth.
All this is coming from a person who travels around Delhi in air-conditioned sweetness, who visits in multi-story homes, who wears tailored suits and tuxedos to wedding parties. I can only imagine what a person who lives on the streets of Delhi has to say about its toxic air and its putrefying wealth.
If you are at all sensitive about inequality then Delhi will fuck you up. If you are at all sensitive to the environment, Delhi will fuck you up. If you are at all sensitive about superficiality, about fake things, about the quality of human interaction, Delhi will fuck you up. In other words, Delhi will fuck you up. It will fuck with your brain, with your eyes, nose, and throat, with your lungs and your stomach. It will fuck with the very blood that flows through your veins. Then it will spit you out - a glob of dirty, coughing, waste into planes or trains or automobiles and when you return to your city, it is like walking out of the smoking area in an airport - the air smells pure and cool, the people are breathing healthy air, knowing that every breath they take isn’t killing them, and the world opens out. Then you feel truly grateful that you are not living in that festering anus (an anus so close to the brain is never a good thing) that is Delhi.