1. Watch the ‘First Day First Show’ of a Movie
Take her out for the first day first show of a movie that you were both looking forward to. It’s better to break away from the noise of reviews and external opinions and form your own. Pick a theatre that has a 9 AM show. Disoriented as you may be in the early hours of the day, force yourself to take a shower, and observe yourself get slowly filled with childish excitement. Think hard of when you last felt this way.
Pick her up and arrive in time for the Vicco Vajradanti ad. Laugh at how desperately the actors are trying to act, but can’t. Whistle together over a scene. Try to control your laughter during the most serious act. Burst out laughing anyway. Have a breakfast of nachos and coke zero; go a step further and have caramel popcorn for the sides!
Also if you end up watching the movie at Satyam Nehru Place, it has Dominos in their snack counter. No kidding. Eat Double Cheese Margherita with Garlic Bread in the movie theatre.
Laugh with her as she re-enacts the movie dialogues over a cup of coffee after the movie. Wonder aloud why everyone around you found the movie boring.
2. Go for theatre at Alliance Française de Delhi
Pick a play that has subtitles being displayed on screen if you don’t understand French. Arrive half an hour early with her. Take a walk around the campus. Admire the modern yet minimalist design and the surrounding flora which has made this place an oasis in the midst of an otherwise chaotic Delhi. Go sit in the cafe. The cafe’s wooden chairs and desks would make you want to spend days and nights inside it, curled up with a book and your choice of beverage.
Order a portion of their scrumptious apple pie. Have a fork fight with her to finish it off, but generously give up the last bite. Make sure to reach the auditorium 5-10 minutes before time as it fills out quite fast. Ensure there is no prior pass invite system. In case there is, do some Indian jugaad with officials to get both of you in. Watch her hurriedly put her spectacles on.
Feel emotions rushing through you as the actors exhibit a wonderful performance. Suddenly realise that language is not really a barrier; that emotions and feelings transcend cultures and boundaries.
After the theatre, go to the dhabha opposite Taj Man Singh Hotel. Order two cups of steaming hot coffee. If any of you take non-sugar coffee, for a change, don’t stop the guy when he puts chocolate powder, it really tastes better with it. Burn your tongue while sipping the hot coffee from the styrofoam cup. Try to act cool as she warned you that the coffee would be piping hot. Come back to the car, roll down the windows, pull back seat just a little, and discuss the theatre while sipping the hot coffee, a little more cautiously this time.
3. Visit a Food Festival
Delhi has some of the best food to offer. It gets better when the organisers painstakingly curate few of the best food vendors and joints and hole them up at a single location; along with some pleasing entertainment setups.
Pick a day and time when it would be least crowded. Still find it crowded at the time you visit. Curse the population. Appreciate how good she looks in yellow. Invoke your inner Spartan, and battle through the crowd to get some food. Eat the hard-earned food together, it always tastes better. Roam around trying out different delectables.
Have a Kala Khatta and Lemon Soda from the Chuski wala. Share a Keventers’ milkshake. Discover that she is as big a foodie as you are. Go to the counter to get her favourite tandoori momos from Hunger Strike.
Find her missing when you return back. Panic. Find her sitting on grass enjoying the music being played. Breathe. Sit next to her and enjoy the breezy acoustic music. Let her put her head on your shoulders and immerse herself in music and daydream.
4. Explore Connaught Place
Choose a weekday evening, for it is busier than a Kumbh Mela during weekends. Start with Cha Bar inside Oxford Book Store. The visual of a sea of books as you enter the store, puts even the most socially anxious person at ease. Browse each shelf together, with her pointing out her favourites and you trying to keep up with her literary endeavours. Fail miserably at it. Try not to smile sheepishly when she thanks you for taking her there with a childlike glint in her eyes.
Decide to order Truck Driver Chai and Cafe Au Lait at the cafe. Order ‘Café Au Lait’, now with proper pronunciation she just taught you. Laugh heartily when the server makes the same mistake. Expect a light slap on your forearm.
Head towards the inner circle and have a plate of Shakarkandi spiked with nimbu and chaat masala from a street vendor. There is something special about having coal-smoked sweet potatoes on such crisp Delhi evenings.
Watch her amusingly as she excitedly rummages through the junk jewellery displayed on the pavement and tries out that green chunky ring.
Take her to the food counter of Embassy Restaurant to try out their cheese bread pakora and keema samosa. Watch her eyes go wide as she gets a glimpse of the size of the samosa.
Head towards Janpath by taking a subway from the outer circle. Realise through her uncomfortable steps that subways make her uneasy. Quickly lead her to have D’Paul’s coffee at Janpath along with her favourite momos. Watch her demolish a plate, while you struggle to keep up.
Walk towards the central park to watch the national flag fluttering uninhibited, without using the subway this time.
5. Have Tea at Moolchand
After a long day at work and with little time in hand, before her curfew at home, take her out for a chai below Moolchand metro station. Order a ‘special’ chai. Watch her wait in anticipation of what’s so special in the chai. Exclaim together as the radio plays an AR Rahman single. Turn up the volume a little.
Listen to her explaining, that the glass that these vendors use is the cheapest form of glass manufactured called ‘Soda Glass’. Discuss the mermaid documentary that she recently watched, and how it’s an American conspiracy to keep them hidden. Make plans to discover them together someday.
Find the guy bringing two glasses of chai and see him drop the chai with a straight face in a dustbin right in front of you. Discuss theories why he dropped the chai. Laugh uncontrollably.
Finally get fresh glasses of chai. Make plans to come here often. Miss her curfew deadline. Steal glances while she sips her chai. See how adorable she looks as the warm yellow of the streetlight falls on her face. Try not to fall in love with her.
Fall in love.