The Poet Who Belongs to Everyone: Finding Gulzar Wherever I Go

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The Poet Who Belongs to Everyone: Finding Gulzar Wherever I Go

Illustration: Akshita Monga

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alking through Old Delhi’s Ballimaaran area means that you have to brave crowds, over-enthusiastic shopkeepers, an onslaught of cycle rickshaws, guarding your purses and your senses equally. The overcrowded, overpopulated streets continue to bustle with so much life that their energy threatens to dent the deteriorating chajjas overhead. But that’s not the Ballimaaran I continue to go back for. I’m not interested in the watches or the bangles, the juttis, jalebis, or jhoomars either. All I want to do is walk the very streets that Gulzar walked to get to Ghalib ki Haveli in Gali Qasim Jan, over and over.

If it weren’t for Gulzar, I wouldn’t know Ballimaaran; I wouldn’t even know Ghalib. I would’ve never made the effort to explore the layered, complex mithai that is Puraani Dilli. Without Gulzar, I’d never have learnt the art of reading between the lines and finding beauty in the mundane.

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