Highlights of How to Survive in Delhi
- Delhi Metro is the safest mode of transport for women.
- Save the toll-free women helpline number 1091 on your phone.
- Do bargaining in shops before you buy.
- Spend some quality time with yourself.
Okay, so now you have moved to Delhi, found a job and house and are ready to live, but you are because the city is new, people are unknown and you do not understand how to deal with it.
From its super modern metro to its crumbling havelies, from its luxurious shopping malls to its dusty spice markets, Delhi is much more than just India’s political city. It is the city of dreams where people come to; find new growth, a new job, a new home. This is a place where the prosperous and flourished history and today’s modern culture join hands to present diverse culture, beautiful architecture, and entertainment. Today, New Delhi is one of the most diverse and lively wonderful cities in which you can choose to work or study abroad. But in the face of an entirely different culture, it can also seem chaotic and intimidating to the first time visitor.
I have been in Delhi for more than five years. My initial days in Delhi when I started my first job here, it was very tough. From dealing with the daily crowd of the metro, heavy traffic on the road, staring eyes of people, expensive living, to people ready to make fools everywhere, it was ridiculous.
Despite the bad experiences, I would not go back in time and change a single moment about any of my experiences. Most of you have heard this cliché line, “life is a journey, not a destination”, and it is true. I learnt a lot here, met with amazing people, tried tasty foods, and most importantly found what I love doing, writing. I love my experience throughout the city because it taught me a lot, and now I can share those lessons with you so you can be aware of what to try and what to avoid.
So without any further ado, here are my 10 tips on how to survive in Delhi as a single working woman, compiled after my five-year-long love and hate relationships with the city.
10 Tips on How to Survive in Delhi
1. Be Expert in Bargaining
Whether you are just shifted to Delhi for work purpose, or you are a student, it is inevitable that you will be exploited to a certain degree, the simple fact is that most shopkeepers know you have money. Skilful bartering takes practice but it can be fun the better you get at it. If you are a beginner, start by cutting the starting price in half and then work your way to a middle ground. Eventually, you will learn the techniques and begin hunting like never before.
2. Stay Alert While Going Outside at Night
The majority of indecent incidents in Delhi happen after hours when pedestrians recede into their homes and cars, the street lie deserted. If there is an unavoidable situation, make sure to save emergency numbers in the priority list of your phones and toll-free women helpline number 1091 on your cell phone.
Every time you anticipate a late night, make sure to book an Ola or Uber cab or Meru cab. These are a reliable and professional cab service provider in the city. But be extra careful, check your cab driver’s license and identification before getting in the cab, and share his phone number and car number with your close friends and family members. By the way, I have found Delhi Metro is the safest mode of transport for women especially at night but it closed at 11 P.M.
3. Be Careful in Your Dressing
Always wear a dress according to the situation and places you are going. Suppose, you are going to South Delhi for a party, you can wear dresses and shorts but you should avoid these attire while visiting the most conservative areas of old Delhi and crowded places. Wearing shorts or bold dresses might get you unwanted male attention at some places in Delhi during your visit.
4. Carry a Pepper Spray
I’m sorry to say this but, you should carry a pepper spray with you to add an additional shield to your safety. Whether you have a male company or you do not have, have yourself a pepper spray. In a city whose reputation precedes it, a small bottle in your purse can elevate you from a victim to a brave soul in your head, and as you will soon realize, you are only as safe as you think you are.
The Food Part
5. Go for Home-made Food
Everything is expensive in Delhi from houses to breathing except food. If you know the right places in Delhi you can have more than your fill and never be disappointed.
If you have just started working in Delhi, avoid wasting money at high-end restaurants to show off. Also do not buy random street food from random vendor’s every day unless you have a strong stomach and do not think that eating out will save you a buck.
Make your habit of cooking at home or go to your regular street food market once in a while. Check vendors that sell fruit chat, salad, sprouts, and eat there. Delhi is excellent in good habits, find local Tiffin walas and restaurants that deliver healthy and yummy food. Make a food budget and stick to it.
6. Treat for Your Toot
No doubt, healthy food is compulsory for good health but sometimes, we want to enjoy the delicious taste. Delhi brings an array of tasty cuisine for every taste. Natives grin when they discuss Delhi Belly, an affliction best left up to the imagination what affects most visitors adjusting to the spicy tastes of the city.
If you have just shifted the city, it may be wise to start slowly and work your way up. Eventually, you will be confident enough to turn adventurous, at which point it is time to start experimenting. Who knows, maybe that street food vendor across that street may just end up being your favourite food spot.
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7. Deal with the Humidity
Depending on when you go, it will likely be hot. Humidity reaches its worst condition during the early summer months. This time, temperatures go over 100 F, but tend to wash off with monsoon towards August.
In the summer season, when you go outside have a water bottle with you. Drink lots of water, do not waste your energy and do whatever can make you cool. If you travel to your office by bus, carry an extra t-shirt or two with you may be helpful…
8. Fit Yourself in the Fast Pace Lifestyle
Delhi can be a huge cultural shock, mainly for people who come here from small towns and villages. The culture of the city at least initially seems a little alien and unfathomable. Here, you will feel like the people are living in a made-up world of their own and are oblivious to the woes of the entire nation. You might find that you cannot keep up with the people and their short attention span.
You should not judge people. We all are humans, flawed and full of desire and that is why everyone you meet will have different expectations from you and the world. Alienate yourself, do not ignore people because of their habits, habits do not define people.
Become acceptable because no matter where you go you will always have a difference of opinion with people. Get a common ground, this is completely fine if you do not want to go for drinks later but you can plan to go for a coffee once in a while.
9. Go with the Flow
Okay, one of the best tips on how to survive in Delhi, I can give as per my experience is don’t sweat the small stuff. If you notice small things and stress about them, you will surely miss out on the bigger picture, which is that you are in one of the most distinctive and amazing cities in the world.
10. Take Time for Yourself
In the chaotic stress of Delhi, it is important to take some time for yourself and find a leisure activity with which you can escape the daily hustle-bustle of the city. While Delhi is culturally and historically rice, trust a weekend away from crowds of the city to rejuvenate your spirit.
There are various tourist trails and offbeat options and rural retreats to keep you experimenting. The overnight Volvo buses and trails will easily transport you into another world, literally.
If you do not want to make a travel plan, you can also get a nice air-conditioned café to read your favourite book, a nearby park to enjoy some time. If you need more ideas, check these self-care tips to live a happier life.
Pros and Cons of Living in Delhi
- There are a lot of growth opportunities. If you have skills and experience, you can definitely reach a higher position.
- To get ahead in the office in Delhi, people are expected to put in a lot of overtime. The average workweek is around 48 hours, but most locals put in extra hours to impress their superiors and improve their chances of career progression.
- New Delhi is establishing its commercial presence at a rapid pace. A lot of companies have seen the potential of Delhi’s developing economy and skilled workforce and decided to locate operations here.
- One inevitable consequence of living here is a lot of o cars and very little fresh air. As per WHO, New Delhi is the world’s sixth most polluted city in the world.
- Delhi is known for bringing together people and cultures from all across India. The variety of food, dress and language is testament to the rich cultural variety of the country and the importance of New Delhi as its capital.
- A Thomson Reuters study found that India was the world’s least safe place for women.
- New Delhi is connected with direct flights and trains to most major cities across India. And, the Delhi Metro is an efficient and cost-effective public transport that connects the city with all major suburbs.
- The weather in the city is not good. Either it is too hot during summers or it is too cold during winters.
Wrap Up on How to Survive in Delhi
This is all about how to survive in Delhi and the pros and cons of the city. Overall, New Delhi is a city on the up-you get here lots of opportunities to do and experiences to enjoy. With a relatively low cost of living, one can enjoy a life of convenience and plenty. So if you have just got your transfer to the city, use your stay to embrace the beauty of Delhi to full effect and you will fall in love with it completely.
Every city has its own idiosyncrasies, and Delhi is filled up to the brim due to its innate juxtaposition but with some extra precautions, you can avoid such situations and enjoy your time here. The key with Delhi is to be cautious but not paranoid- holds your head up high, walk like you know where you are going.
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Have you ever been to Delhi? Or are you living in Delhi? Share your experience of survival in Delhi as non-Delhits.