Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Della in Delhi

5:30 am - foggy - cows emerging from the mist in the centre of a roundabout - skinny stick legged rickshaw drivers peddaling painfully slowly - beggars in my face, tugging at my sleeve - the lady in the orange sari has no teeth - more cows, eating garbage - filth - piles of garbage - shit on the road - dirty kids running next to me - cramped pink hotel room without windows - the stunning lady in the green sari is getting her hands hennaed - thousands of coloured bangles sparkling in the sun - "Only one rupee!" - honking - screaming - motorcylces - bikes - boys blocking the narrow roads pushing carts filled with oranges - potholed streets - "Where you from?" - a maze of alleys that take me to more cows, pink from Holi - piles of Indian sweets - men pissing and shitting in open public urinals in cramped streets - street vendors frying dough in huge vats of oil - insane chaotic roundabouts - India gate - men staring, staring, staring - "Can I take a photo with you?" - furious whistles - Presidential Palace - ushered off the empty street to make way for the PM's convoy of cars - Military Police marching with guns - one single dirty monkey - 17-year-old autorickshaw driver - insane, blaring Indian music - "First time to India madame?" - swerving - dodging - stopped in rows of traffic inhaling exhaust - Ghandi memorial - men washing out in the street - men sleeping on their rickshaws in the shade of the overpass - so many assasinated Prime Ministers - Indira Ghandi's bloody bullet-holed sari - burned pyjamas Raj Ghandi was wearing when assasinated - photos of a thin, dead Ghandi on a pile of flowers - "Come into my shop?" - a young shop owner insisting on dressing me in a sari - "Watch your hands." - "I said watch your hands." - Knee to the chest - crazy wedding proposal from lunatic Indian man who drops to his knees and wants to marry me immediately - National Museum - Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesh - crazy red-eyed guru with wild grey beard in my face asking for money - queing, queing, queing at the railway station - "You want rickshaw?" "You want taxi?" "Where you go?" - fruit vendors - flies settling everywhere - naan, thali, chai tea, lemon soda - Sihks, Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Buddhists, Christians - strange hippie travelers - the foul smell of stale urine - railway station 5:00 am train to Agra - throngs of people staring, staring, staring with a hopeless look - men shitting outside as the train rolls past - shacks, shanties and people sleeping outside - a transvestite drag queen begging for money on the train, making everyone laugh - always the people, everywhere you turn...the crush of people...it's a miracle that Delhi doesn't collapse under its own weight and the chaos of all these people - "Anything in India is possible!" - and....


That was Delhi.


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