06-12-03

OLD DELHI

A day in the life of Old Delhi at Chandni Chowk Bazaar.
The yellow and green Tuk Tuks run on natural gas... an important step in the direction of a "future" cleaner/greener Delhi. there is hope. 

 
 

Chandni Chowk bazaar is not for the claustrohobic:   I look at all those lovely people, people, everywhere people
I think I'll just sit down - don't have to leave my spot - and watch life unfold. 
 
To illustrate, the following excerpt from John Brandi's "A Question of Journey".

The impossibility of India. To say that the nation is poor is to bring to mind economic depression, starvation, the thirst for material goods. But its poverty begins with the multitude, the embedded system of caste and codes, the stifling effect of role upon role, death upon death, burning upon burning, birth and endless rebirth.

 

On a sagging cot next to me sleeps a Spanish man. Fresh off the plane and disoriented by India, he found me among throngs of ambling shoppers and haggling merchants in the Chandni Chowk bazaar. When he asked for directions o cheap lodging, I mentioned my hotel. At which point he fumbled and moaned, trying to break free of the curious gawkers surrounding him, all tugging with suggestions of their own.

 

“I need out of here!”

The man pulled like a child at my sleeves. I quickly turned, hailed a rickshaw driver and agreed on a price to my hotel. Within minutes though, the ride turned to disaster. The rickshaw driver, hoping to convince us of a different hotel and thus pick up a small commission from the manager, took a deliberately meandering route.

Deeper and deeper into the maddening crowd he pedalled, stopping first at a shop of a friend who sold hookahs; then to the brass vendor… and on and on. At each stop the rickshaw wallah insisted we buy something. Opium, phony marble antiques, chrome lingam, ganja pipe, plastic trident, sun damaged scarves printed with bliss bestowing mantras. He was relentless, jabbering without stop a baffling mix of Hindu and broken textbook British, through a harmonica row of missing teeth.

Bearing his thin weight on the pedals, his ribs stood out, his mouth burped red spittle from an assortment of leaf wrapped herbs rolled under his lip.

The Spanish man began to suffocate. He looked for a way out of the shoppers, the pushing mass of neon lit skeletons, the rearing horses and bellowing bulls, the monkeys banging across tin roofs. The constant murmur of the crowds rose and fell in unending waves. Not for a second was there any pause. Suddenly he stood up in the teetering rickshaw, dangerously throwing the driver of balance on his little bicycle seat in front of us.

 

“Mucho mundo, mucho mundo!”

 

The nervous India, the strangled India is too tired to be anything but indifferent.





08:04 Gepost door pieter | Permalink | Commentaren (1) |  Facebook |

Commentaren

from misja's friend Pieter, looks like your're having a great trip. I was on this same street 8 years ago. It was completly overwhelming! I stayed at a crappy hotel, where the electricity only worked half the time and my room had no windows. I panick thinking about it.

Gepost door: leah | 04-01-04

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