December 10, 2019
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In Residence

What's wrong with Lajpat Nagar?

In Residence
To begin with, I dislike the name, Lajpat Nagar, and it’s with no offence to the great man himself. I simply like places with symbolic names like "Billy-Maran" (cat-catchers) or "Andheria More". They have a poetic element about them.

Next in my list of dislikes about Lajpat Nagar is its squalor. I have heard of places described as ‘God-forsaken’, but considering the proliferation of temples that adds to the constructed squalor of the locality I do not think this adjective really fits. I take care to skip mentioning Lajpat Nagar when asked my address. I simply mention Feroz Gandhi Road which, of course, is part of Lajpat Nagar but few have ever heard of it. For those who have, I manage to engulf them in an air of splendid suspense. I am also not happy with the christening of this road after Feroz Gandhi either. The reason is simple. I consider my entitlement to a similar honour much more justified since I have to suffer the nullah’s fumes from across the road.

The christening of the road took place much before I moved in, when Indira Gandhi was PM. But to be fair, it was not done at her behest. During her first visit to my house, when I told her the name of the road, she was caught off-guard. All she could mutter was: "Was he that important?"

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