15th January, 2016 – Delhi

Met for breakfast, then jumped on the metro. It’s an Indian version of the tube, except you go through airport-like security to get on it with baggage x-ray and frisking. The trains are the same as you get on the Barcelona metro, the signs exactly like the London Underground, but in Hindu. There are mixed and female only carriages.

We travelled to Chandni chowk and wandered the streets of Old Delhi. This was truly wonderful.

The streets were full of traffic, tuks, bikes, horses, cars, pedestrians.

Above, a puzzle of messy wires and cables, monkeys and squirrels moving amongst them effortlessly.

Dusty, messy shops begin to open. The only space I can see is in the gutter but it is soon taken by shoe shiners, a barber’s chair, a man brushing his teeth, someone cooking. Everyday activities, in the gutter.

Walking thorough Old Delhi, monkeys are everywhere, stealing produce from market stall holders. To stop the monkey thieves, some stall holders, without glancing up, throw their produce into the sky and it is caught by the monkeys. People are staring at me because of my blonde hair. Through the crowds, we arrive at a mosque where I don a robe, covered yet barefoot. The floor is cold.

The views of Old Delhi are fantastic with the morning mist/pollution calming the colours of India. I can taste the pollution.

We walk further to a Sikh temple where we are fed and given tea. Here they feed three thousand people a day. They don’t care who we are, we are welcomed. An elderly couple chat with us. We find a translator.

We sit, heads shrouded and participate in a ceremony. It’s not what I’m seeking, but I appreciate it.

Following my first journey in a Tuk, which was an experience, we had a free afternoon. Returning by the metro to the Karol Bahg, a two year old raises a bowl to me “hello, hello” are his first words. I have to walk on by. This is hard.

Children tug at my trousers. Women wave empty milk bottles at me, pointing to their baby, “ feed my baby” they say. This is difficult.

Our guide tells us that every child in India has access to a free education. I keep telling myself that if I give, I am supporting in the wrong way. But I’m not sure.

A nap and something to eat. A beer with Rob, Monica and Frank. I reflect on the day. On the poor who work in the gutters, on the beggars in the street. I can taste the air, I can hear the noise. I’m already in love with this city.

Tomorrow, Agra.


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