For the last several years I’d seen Sam Miller’s 2010 book Delhi: Adventures in a Megacity had been available to borrow through my public library, but despite my curiosity I never followed through. Strange, one would think considering my interest in books about India, both fiction and nonfiction I would have read Delhi by now. Then one day my curiosity finally got the better of me and I downloaded a copy through Overdrive.
Miller, a British expat living in Delhi and married to an Indian woman came up with a cool idea. Intrigued by the city around him, he decided the best way to explore it was to do so in the style of a 19th century French flâneur, that is leisurely and on foot. Over the course of a year Miller traversed Delhi in a spiral counterclockwise pattern, exploring the teeming city’s inhabitants, alleyways, attractions and small shops. During Miller’s year of meandering he was treated up close and personal to a diverse and vivid universe (he calls the megacity “India’s dreamtown—and its purgatory”), long ignored by guide books and government-promoted travel literature.
Delhi is a pretty good book. I admire Miller for putting so much effort in exploring the city and choosing to do so on foot, which based on my experience is the best way meaningfully explore any city. I would encourage all aspiring travel writers to follow Miller’s example whenever they find themselves in a large city far from home.