2006 #3: Delhi – Hot Destination!

Last night was pretty interesting and sociable in a variety of ways. We were wandering around poking our noses into various shops of interest, then we went down an alleyway to the local chai wallah for a cup of his wonderful chai. Pretty interesting to check out the alleyway life. There were people sitting around passing time – as there seems to be everywhere in Delhi – national pastime? While waiting for our chai we took a photo or two of our surroundings, including the amazing tumbledown second story just above the chai wallah. Incredible that the place actually stays up there! It appeared to be made of bits of spare wood and tarpaulin held together by spit. Some kid was wandering up and down a ladder from there, trying his best to kick a calf that came wandering up the alley. The things you do when you don’t have a t.v.

We sat on a bench amongst some of the locals and one very uptight dog, and eventually one of the woman asked if I would take their photo. This I was most happy to do, because due to the wonders of digital technology, I can show them the photo straight away. I love to see the looks on their faces when they see themselves on the screen. There was a little boy of about three years, whose mother was a bit rough on him – it was pretty tempting to pick him up and give him a cuddle – and you could see he had no concept at all of what he looked like. He was also pretty bewildered by this woman with a white face making flashing lights at him. His older brother was very chatty though. Very smiley guy who practiced his english on us and I practiced my very small Hindi with him. That only took a second or two.
After a cup of most wonderful chai, we were invited in to see a tabla maker. He was making the most wonderful noises on his tabla, so we took a bit of movie footage of him playing and casually chatting at the same time. It was a neat experience – the tabla is a most beautiful sound when played so well. And the chai wallah would not take any money for our chai. He is a lovely man and I highly recommend his chai to anyone. Just take the first alleyway on the left after the internet cafe with the pothole outside it up Main Bazaar, Pahar Ganj.

Later – back on the Hare Krishna guesthouse rooftop complete with nightly rations of gin – we had a chat with a guy from Nagar, called Pappu. He is involved with an eco-friendly type institution somewhere up there and obviously gets around a bit doing business. He reckons he doesn’t have to travel to see the world, and much of it comes to his place. Fair enough.

Over yonder were a few young guys – from Israel maybe – with some instruments. I wandered over and wangled my way into having a play on one of the guitars. That felt great – it was something I missed a lot last year. Sitting round under the night sky, relaxing and socialising – a guitar was one seriously missing necessary item. I realised that I actually had withdrawal symptoms from this. One of these guys was actually hauling two guitars and a violin around with him. You gotta take your hat off to that. I thought a backpack and a bag was a pain!

There is a large group here made up of French people – adults and young kids of varying ages. When I asked them this morning, they said they were four families who had all come over to do a trek in the mountains. Many of the kids with them had actually been born in India. No wonder they look so at home. What a wonderful thing, travelling to such interesting places as a kid.

It’s another scorcher today. After breakfast, our feet nearly got scorched just walking across the roof and down the stairs. And this is on marble!

We’re going down to check out the train station situation. We might take a couple of days in Rishikesh. We are of course waiting for business to be completed here – the ability to wait being a prerequisite in India. Tomorrow can actually contain many tomorrows. A whole different slant on time from the Western world.

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