“Maybe I’m finally becoming a local,” said a friend I spotted and hailed on Bengaluru’s Church Street last week. She had moved to the city from Delhi a year earlier. “This is the first time someone recognised me on the street,” she said. It got me thinking about how we tell ourselves that we’ve slipped into a city’s rhythms. For another friend, being able to direct someone who is lost—giving the right directions, not made-up ones—is a sign of “becoming a local” or feeling at home. For me, being able to navigate the Metro—or in its absence, the public transport system—makes me feel like I’m coming to grips with a city. Another friend collects maps and memorabilia of Metros of every new city he visits. Metro systems, somehow, evoke all sorts of feelings in their users, from frustration and boredom to fondness and devotion.
As the Delhi Metro turns 20, we take a look at the slow change it has effected on the city’s culture and the role it plays in people’s lives. It has not just made commuting convenient and quick—an opinion shared by the six million who use it every day—but also relatively safe. A Metro rail is ultimately a public space in which we find ways to pass time every day as we get across town; it’s space we share not just with strangers who happen to be on the same route (and we can eavesdrop on) but also with friends, family, crushes and colleagues.
To change track and move on to our other stories this week, Manu Chandra, the chef who freed fine-dining from the confines of five-star hotels, has finally turned restaurateur. He is opening his first space, LUPA, on Bengaluru’s MG Road. He has been running a gourmet catering service for just over a year, but, with the restaurant, his aim is to bring the “real feels” to fine-dining by treating food firmly as food and not as artistic expression, he tells Lounge.
If you missed either the Jaipur Literature Festival or Sundance, we have reviews and wraps of both, giving you a sense of what was noteworthy and what you should be glad you avoided. And as always, we have recommendations for what to watch, do and read, as well as for the best croissants across the country.
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