Book Review by Yatin Gupta
Having spent a good part of my life in Delhi/NCR, I still somehow feel that I do not know the city quite well. Every time someone asks me something about Delhi, Googles comes to my rescue at times and I end up loathing myself for not knowing most of the things that a resident is supposed to know. Delhi By Heart was receiving some very good reviews from fellow readers and came highly recommended from a couple of people I know. In no time, I decided that I would definitely read this book.
Another reason to pick this book was its blurb, a line which caught my attention instantly when I read it, “How is it that a man from Pakistan can cross the border into ‘hostile’ territory and yet not feel ‘foreign’?”. Well, I am not trying to highlight anything here. Raza Rumi is a well known personality and a couple of twitter friends met him during a group-walk in Delhi at the time of release of this book.
The author wrote this book between year 2007 and 2009. He had always wanted to be an author but Delhi By Heart is an unintended and unplanned book. It is a testament of author’s discovery to Delhi and its multi-layered history. From the moment he landed in Delhi for the first time, he tried to soak in everything that Delhi had got to offer. Though it was an official trip but he thought of using this opportunity to its best. He decided to explore the city on his own and starts his stint with Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s dargah and discovers many layers of the city on his whims.
When I was reading this book, I realised that the author’s research and knowledge about everything that he has written about Delhi, its history is extremely rich and what made this book more interesting is the way he has intertwined anecdotes with a smooth flowing narrative. Raza couldn’t stop comparing Delhi with Lahore and found out the both the cities are similar in many ways. Rich in heritage, history, culture and spirituality and also at the same time the modernism creeping in both the cities intrigued the author at various levels and he has shared his thoughts on it quite candidly in the book.
Delhi By Heart was an eye opener for me in many ways and so much that I will definitely read it once more in future. The author has ensured that everything that you read in this book stays with you for a long time and invoke some thoughts and a zeal to visit all the places mentioned in the book with a whole new outlook. The details, the precision and the passion with which this book has been written can be felt while you read it and in the end you will feel happy and satisfied and that I guess is a sign of a good book.