As I’ve noted in this column before, one of my alternative titles for the capital city used to be "Nude Ellie". But it isn’t satisfying because (a) it only works in print (b) it doesn’t actually make any statements about the city. I imagine there are very few women called "Ellie" living here and it’s very unlikely that any of them would be nude. Not out on the streets, anyway.
My current favourite alternative name is "Delhirium", followed closely by "Delhicious"—though I only ever swing in that direction when I’ve just been out, had something to eat and am feeling unusually benign. One of my SMS friends refers to the city as "Delhight"—but that’s probably because he doesn’t live here any more. Then there’s "Delhivery" when sending something off by local couriers and "Delhimination" when sitting in a taxi and thinking up nasty ways of reducing the population. There’s "Delhicate" for those days when I’d rather NOT sit in a taxi and "Delhiberation" for running away altogether. There’s "Delhitter Box" for those days when the post-digestive deposits on the sidewalk are especially intense and "Delhimit" when wandering around the perimeter of the city. "Delhitigants" for that special breed of citizens who waste their lives in court and "Delhizards" for those who lounge about on walls gawking at the rest of us.
The possibilities are Delhimitless! The names of other metros are less accommodating. "Bombastic" was once a possibility but today there’s only "Mumbai-bye". "Kolkattle" isn’t bad though, for the bovines blocking up the streets of that city. Social "Kolkategories", "Kolkataclysmic" floods and how about Fish "Kolkutlets"? A well-known Delhicacy, I’m told.
This article originally appeared in Delhi City Limits, February 15, 2006