Author Archives: jenny and dave

December book release events: Delhi, Mumbai, & Bangalore

Delirious Delhi is coming to India, and so am I! Just in time for the 100th anniversary of the founding of New Delhi, I will be arriving for free book release events in three Indian cities. I hope to see you there!

(Click image for printable version)

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Delirious Delhi: a five-page preview

Delirious Delhi is still two weeks away from hitting the stores. To whet your appetite, here’s a brief excerpt. Enjoy!

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move over, Fun ‘n Food Village

I’d like your thoughts on this marketing idea that I’m working on for the book. I see this as a sticker; and I have a dream of seeing this sticker in the rear window of every car in Delhi.

Your thoughts?

P.S. Why do so many cars have Fun ‘n Food Village stickers in their windows? I know that Fun ‘n Food Village is awesome, but there are plenty of awesome places in the area. What makes their stickers so eminently stickable?

coming soon: Delirious Delhi!

Long-time readers of this site know that just before we left India, we inked a deal with HarperCollins India to write a full-length portrait of the city of Delhi.

This was not a reprint of the blog. Instead, this is a complete narrative examination of the city we tried so hard to understand. And even if you’ve read every page of this website, 90% of the book will be new to you.

Ladies and gentlemen, expats and locals, NRIs and Delhiites: the wait is finally over. Delirious Delhi will be published this in December — just in time for the 100th anniversary of the founding of New Delhi.

And this is what the cover will look like.

If that cover looks like a handpainted Bollywood poster, you’re right. It is. Can anyone name the movie Jenny and I are attempting to recreate with our pose?

I will have information about the publication date, release parties, and much more soon. In the meantime, please do three things:

Want to know what the book is about? Click here to read the blurb.

bicycle rickshaws: Delhi vs. Colorado

Let’s consider a contrast in the economic and social structure of two different countries for a moment.

In Delhi, India, the poorest migrants in the world pedal bicycle rickshaws for a living. It’s a challenging, unglamorous job that’s among the lowest on the city’s totem pole. They barely make enough to get by. Nobody wants to be a rickshaw puller

In Boulder, Colorado, rickshaw pulling is what hippies choose to do.

And doesn’t that color scheme look familiar?

are autos actually on the meter now?

The first round of edits for my book have finally been completed. As I’ve been reviewing them, I read a comment from my editor Ajitha that I couldn’t believe. In my chapter about getting around Delhi, I said that, “Any driver who agrees to go by the meter is probably planning a route from GK-I to GK-II via the Taj Mahal.”

Here’s what Ajitha said: “No longer true, I think. Meter rates have gone up dramatically and autos actually go by meter!”

Could that be true??? I haven’t been in Delhi for a while, but I can’t imagine such a seismic shift. The only time autos would go by the meter for us was if the driver thought we wouldn’t know the proper route, or if there was a cop watching us negotiate.

Last week, I asked Twitter for other opinions.

And here’s what Twitter had to say.

One of my theories about Delhi is that it exists in a kind of quantum state, because everything about Delhi is true at once. The answers above reinforce that theory.

Still, I’d like more input. Has anyone else seen a change in the ways autorickshaws charge you in the last couple of years?

Update: more responses have poured in from Twitter!

http://twitter.com/#!/saroha_varun/status/109539632219299840

http://twitter.com/#!/_rhobert/status/109548878692491264

Grandpops didn’t know you had cheese fries

Of all the photos that I took in Delhi, this one surprised my grandfather the most.

“This is another one of your jokes, Dave,” he scoffed, turning from my computer screen to glare at me. “Are there really Ruby Tuesday’s in India?”

Grandpops wasn’t alone in his shock at seeing a familiar brand in an unfamiliar place. I myself had no idea Ruby Tuesday’s would be in India until I first set foot in the GK II market.  Which is why, in fact, I took that picture in the first place.

And remembering Grandpops’ reaction reminds me of why I felt the Slumdog Millionaire controversy in 2009 was so misguided. People called it ‘poverty porn, with one blogger chiding it as “a collection of clichés from the Third World’s underbelly for the viewing pleasure of a First World audience.” And while it’s true that Americans are fascinated by foreign poverty (even though we’re blind to it on our own shores), there’s something the critics of Slumdog misunderstood: the movie actually did introduce Americans to a side of India we’d never seen before.

Not the slums, but the skyscrapers.

The modern side of the country. Most Americans had no idea that India had televisions and game shows and popular culture; we certainly had no idea that India has two homegrown Regis Philbins!

I remember one Thanksgiving in the early 2000s, long before I ever visited India, when my grandmother made a “final answer” joke at the dinner table. Every one of us — from nineteen to ninety — laughed at her joke. And then we all marveled that there was an aspect of our culture that all generations could share.

None of us had any idea, though, that 7,200 miles to the east, there were a billion more people who would have laughed along with Grandma — much less that those billion were also discovering that Ruby Tuesday’s “Thai Phoon shrimp” doesn’t quite look on the plate like it does on the menu.