This post is about three month late.

Sometime this year we realized that with Delhi Dallying, we love love to initiate positive conversations about the city around us. The idea for this poster series started with the idea of happy people and beautiful happy things around them. So we got our mood boards and reference images in place.

We were inspired by some of the exciting work done by Italian creative agency New!

We needed ideas, a list of all the lovely things in the city. Much brainstorming and some dilly dallying later, we were set. We deviated from the New! inspiration and decided to add our own twist: a fun, double entendre tagline that screams Delhi. The aim was to make the posters fun, friendly and provoking.

With the monkey power doodle by the lovely Amri Chadha
With the monkey power doodle by the lovely Amri Chadha

Ideation done, the next step: models!

We got everyone involved! Delhi Dallying held an open photography session in college and begged/ convinced/ forced/ blackmailed the SPA student community. All our friends gave their best shot and Varun and Kabilan captured some really candid moments. We even managed to convince some of our faculty! Unfortunately we weren’t able to make use of all our models (we ran out of ideas!) but we still have hope 🙂

our models, in all their glory.
Our models, in all their glory.

It took some time time (and help from the Creative Suite) to translate our mock-ups to reality.

poster blog
In process.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, we present to you: Delhi Dallying Poster Series 2.

The idea was to start conversation. Delhi is as multifaceted as its people, and there are as many Delhis as there are Dilliwallas: a true multiplicity. With these posters Delhi Dallying wanted its audience to stand up and take notice, to think. What’s your Delhi?

notes on delhi, vol.1

Have decided to share interesting observations on Delhi. Book/blog/movie/etc. recommendations are most welcome!


Writer/journalist Jai Arjun Singh runs an interesting weblog called Jabberwock. He’s lived in Delhi all his life, in Saket, and thus has been privy to its metamorphosis. Some quotes from his many posts on Delhi:

From PVR Talkies!, May 2005

“Bhai saab, yeh PVR taakis kahan hai?” one asked me, or at least that’s what it sounded like.

I figured they meant the movie hall but couldn’t be completely sure; for all I knew, any number of new buildings/offices/dhabas might have come up in the colony that were informally called PVR-something-or-the-other. When I hesitated momentarily, one of the other men said “jahan phillum lagti hai” and simultaneously the first one said “PVR taakis” again. I directed them to the hall and walked off, realizing that what the first guy had meant was “PVR Talkies”. That was so cool. PVR Talkies. Jahan talking picture dekhne ko milta hai. Takes you right back to another era, doesn’t it, while also serving as a reminder that many movie theatres outside of the big cities are still referred to that way.

From The Saket Column, July 2007

We moved to Saket in September 1987. Still years away from acquiring road sense, I had little idea then of where this quiet colony placed on the map in relation to the rest of South Delhi, but I’d heard the area was once a forestland where people went fox-hunting, and it seemed a very adventurous thing to live in such a place.

From Flyover down under, January 2008

I’ve concluded that the multi-level underground parking lots in Delhi’s newest malls are versions of the clover leaf-shaped flyovers that are staples in big cities around the world. In fact, if you can picture a clover flyover that goes deep down into the ground, it’s practically the same thing.

From In Praise of the Delhi Metro, March 2011

Now the Metro is changing this to an extent. When I wrotethis post in 2008, it seemed like the construction would go on forever and we’d never get to see actual trains (all we saw then were hordes of solemn-faced, helmeted men wandering about our park with giant measuring instruments, occasionally visiting houses to take photos of every crack on every wall so we couldn’t subsequently blame the damage on the vibrations). But it’s all in working order now, and a huge convenience – these days I sometimes find an excuse to get out for a while even if I don’t strictly have to.

and from his latest On Dave Prager’s Delirious Delhi (which led to all the others), December 2011

The structure of each south Delhi neighborhood, observes Prager, is such that it focuses life “squarely towards the centre. Residents are both figuratively and physically forced to turn their backs towards everything outside. It’s introversion by municipal design…we can’t help but see south Delhi as isolated islands separated by seas of traffic”.

which almost exactly echoes SPA faculty Henri Arthur Fanthome‘s views on the issue, and

Delirious Delhi is a mixed bag overall. Prager has a broad sense of humour that usually works, his enthusiasm is infectious and I enjoyed his obsessive interest in such things as the intonations of the word “bhaiya” by women trying to hectorsabzi-wallahs.

and, my favourite bit:

The nearly 400 pages of Delirious Delhi are more than enough to show that Delhi is a place where anything (and its opposite) is possible, and in fact this book is a little like the city itself: sprawling, unruly, continuing to expand alarmingly just when you think you might have reached the border (or in this case, the end of a chapter).

What’s in the type?

It’s been three weeks since I have had this Dilli seated in black and white on my desktop screen. To me it was as Delhi as it gets. I LOVE it! Today, at my cousin’s place, my uncle who’s lived in Delhi almost all his life seemed to differ. He thought it could be made more readable. Google results for my image search revealed another attempt by the INTACH guys that seems to have been abandoned now (and no surprise at that). Thinking of how much could this brilliant image be screwed with, I came ahead and together, we gave it a shot on photoshop. And our Dilli appeared. The tittle on the ‘i’ made prominent. d-i-l-l-i: clearer than the previous version. The word appears a little more indigenous than exotic  in my opinion and rings Delhi 6 more than Shahjahanabad in my head (but that’s my opinion). What do you guys think? Which one do you like better? Take either of the images and share with us your own version (until someone from INTACH chances upon this article and asks us to remove all this enthusiastic guerrilla dilliness). Until then!


Catch a screening of the 25 minute award winning documentary film Dilli at the Visual Arts Gallery, IHC at 6.30 pm on Saturday, 24 September.

This screening is organized as part of Architecture Rendezvous, a week long event (24-30 September) on Indo-French architectural perspectives.

The un-destitute Delhi

Architect Charles Correa writes in his 1989 book The New Landscape: Urbanisation In The Third World:

Our criminal indifference to cities Like Calcutta or Bombay over the last decades have allowed conditions to deteriorate to sub-human levels. Yet somehow Bombay functions, and with an energy and enthusiasm that is far more impressive than a showpiece capital like Delhi, because the budget available there per capita is several-fold that of Bombay. Furthermore, cities Like Bombay and Calcutta represents a true cross-section of urban incomes, whereas New Delhi has no destitute people (they are all hidden in Old Delhi); the poorest people one sees are governnient clerks cycling to work, and in winter even they are dressed in woolens! The Third World has too many examples of such capital cities, cities whose apparent affluence is misleading — most of all to the politicians and bureaucrats who live there.

Well, Delhi sure has changed in the past 22 years. Maybe not our politicians, though.


The city of Delhi sometimes reminds me of an onion, imperfectly taken apart – many layered, veined and maimed. The layers are not coherent or even tightly packed – scattered stray wisps forlornly curl at the edges in some corner, many centuries lie bunched together in another. Yet within them lie hidden vapours of many pasts, rising unbidden to sting you into an awareness of a different time.

Quoted from Anisha Shekhar Mukherji’s amazingly thought provoking post on the essence of our first Delhi Dallying seminar: Delhi and its image issues (if we can call it that).

Considering that a significant part of Delhi (like that of India) is too busy surviving, does the city even have these issues? Or is it only us, thinking too much? Of course, I’m not denying the situation, which is very much real, but I’m wondering whether we can call it an issue if so many of those concerned are not even aware of it.

Delhi Dallying: Seminar I [18.02.2011]

Delhi Dallying held a seminar on 18th February 2011, as a part of Utopia 2011, the annual festival of SPA, Delhi. We had 4 expert panelists who came together to discuss the imageability of Delhi.

Question raised: If ‘New York : Skyscrapers, then Delhi:?’?

Bharati Chaturvedi, Environmentalist + Editor

Ms. Chaturvedi drew our attention to an aspect of the city which we tend to be oblivious to, often unaware of. She spoke about the informal sector of Delhi which is an integral part of Delhi’s ecological chain and also its economy, but is still unrecognized, and often banned. Delhi is a city of ‘walas’ like the neighbourhood fruit vendor, press-wala and maid, who form a large chunk of Delhi’s population.

Himanshu Verma,  Art Curator + Activist

Mr. Verma is passionate about the traditional flower markets of Delhi (like the ones near mehrauli and Baba Khadak Singh Marg) and has been heading the ‘Genda Phool’ campaign to prevent them from being shifted to a dedicated depot on the city periphery. He raised some very valid arguments explaining how these markets were actually ‘activity generators’ and enlivened an other-wise dead space, for the few hours that they are functional everyday.

Madhav Raman, Architect

Mr. Raman is currently involved with the Delhi Ring Rail project and went on to explain the twisted identity that Delhi is headed towards. We often aspire for Delhi to be like Shanghai or New York but that is where the problem lies. The whole point is that Delhi has its unique identity. Infact, it has multiple identities owing to the influx of migrants from all over the country, which makes it a diverse melting pot. He stressed on the promotion of sustainable models of development like the promotion of low cost public transport and indigenous, site specific development.

Narayani Gupta, Historian + Professor

Ms. Gupta concluded the seminar by sharing her experiences of Delhi. She spoke about a protest which she had undertaken in the 1980s wherein they protested against the demolition of the King George V monument, saying that British buildings too, were an inherent part of Delhi’s image as well and one cannot and should not try and erase them from history. She explained the transition of Delhi from a post-independence, nascent city to the rapidly growing metropolis that it is today.


The discussion led us to conclude that Delhi has the potential of being truly cosmopolitan, as it has multiple images, not just one. Their is so much diversity in the city, that it actually adds to the character of the city.

(This was just a start and we hope to have many more Delhi Dallying seminars soon!)