Highlights: Delhi launch for Delirious Delhi

The first wild sighting of Delirious Delhi!

Two years after leaving our Delhi home, I’ve returned for the publication of my new book about life in this city of sixteen million.

And returning after so long has brought a strange mix of nostalgia and immediacy.

It’s joy and melancholy combined: it’s magnificent to be back, it’s depressing to have left, it’s sad to be away from where life is now.

I arrived on Thursday night. I slept, I recovered, and then I dove into this newer Delhi, where a spotless shining South Delhi Metro now deposits me under the havelis of the 19th century. Amazing to begin here…

… and then so quickly be eating here.

Old Delhi always used to evoke a sense of unknown—a sense that I’m seeing centuries of history I can’t comprehend. Now there’s a new emotion: wistfulness. My memories are now part of the cacophony. Walking through the lanes, the things I see remind me of the life Jenny and I lived here, too.

And here’s what’s more amazing: as many times as we came in the past, there are still countless sights I’d never before seen.

And then, from the old to the new: off to the American Center the book launch, where somewhere between 75 and 2,500 people gathered to celebrate the release of Delirious Delhi.

(Crowd estimates may vary.)

I was joined on stage by Sonal Shah, an editor at Time Out Delhi. Together we discussed the book, my post-Delhi hairline, my secret food-hoarding habits when I was at work in Gurgaon, and why the greatest thing to ever happen to Delhi may or may not be Big Bazaar.

It was a great event, with laughter and only a few awkward moments. If you missed it, good news: there will be an encore event Thursday, 8 December at Olive Beach restaurant in Chanakyapuri! Details have been posted here.

If you’re in Mumbai and Bangalore, we’ll see you on Dec 5 and 7! If you’re in the US or elsewhere it the world, pre-order your copy now!

Finally, cheers to Sushobahn from Singapore for buying six copies. Let’s hope everyone else follows his example.

returning to Delhi: what change will I see?

How much does a city change in two-and-a-half years? Well, here’s the answer. A few hours ago, I Tweeted that while Tom Cruise, the rapper Pitbull, and I are all reaching Delhi in a few days, only I would be queuing in the taxi line in order to leave the airport.

And then I got this Tweet in response:

THAT’S how much a city changes in two-and-a-half years. Let Tom and Pitbull have their limos. I can take the Metro.

I can’t wait to get back. I wonder what else is new.

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?