Neha Bhasin may be settled in Mumbai now, but the memories of the Capital are still close to the heart of this Delhi-born singer. On a recent trip to the city, she revisited the bylanes of Defence Colony and got nostalgic about south Delhi.
“I passed out of school in 2000, and having money for cafes and all was not [a thing back then]. Today’s kids go to popular coffee shops, and I think, ‘Their parents give them money for that much coffee!’ Hum toh ₹5 ki coffee, ₹2 ka samosa [lete the], woh bhi mere maa-baap ko mehenge lagte the (laughs). I grew up on the chhole kulche near Moolchand, and a lot of street food,” recounts the 39-year-old, who is popular for songs such as Chitta Kukkad and Jag Ghoomeya (Sultan; 2016).
Ask her about her school days, and she shares that she used to be a “poor student” till class X. “And suddenly in class XI and XII, I did really well. I topped my class in XII! That’s how I got into Lady Shri Ram College (LSR) in 2001. I had topped in elective English, and was ranked the second highest in ICSE board in India! My mother said, ‘Ab toh tumhe kuch karna padega’. I was like, ‘Abhi bhi mujhe music hi karna hai’. For me, music was number one priority.”
Bhasin also reveals her fave hangout spots. Besides popular eateries all cool kids went to, she had a special adda: “I used to go to this place behind my school, where my friends would smoke. I wasn’t a smoker, so I’d have banta with kala namak.”
Before becoming part of girl group Viva, she spent two years at LSR, studying Sociology (Hons), and feels it’s one of the “coolest colleges”. She spent a lot of time jamming with friends, albeit initial hiccups of going to an all-girls college. “I was from a co-ed school and had guy friends. So to land up in a college with women of all shapes and sizes — 5,000 women on first day of college — I felt like I’d faint,” she tells us, adding, “And then falling in love with the college, it was such a beautiful time. I only spent two years there, but it was the best time of my life.”