Delhi Arrival

New Delhi Travel Blog

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Mr. and Mrs. Bhasin, who took such good care of me.
4 a.m. in Delhi and I'm tormented by mosquitoes bent on finishing me off, having already sufficiently chowed on my hands, feet, neck, ankles, shoulders and back.  As much as I hate to kill any animal, my non-harming attitude is quite weak at this moment...

I lay in a hard bed, that's quite comfortable, except for my larger than Indian legs, which dangle my feet off the end of the bed.  I've stayed 2 days at the home of my friend Vikrant's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bhasin.  Mr. Bhasin, an elderly thin man with a stern voice, is dismayed by my laisez faire attitude and open-ended itinerary.  He questions me at length about where I will go, how I will get there, and my budget.  I know where I want to go...but not much more.  He sighs in frustration...  Mr. Bhasin immediately assumes responsibility for me, as if he were my father and I was lost in a far of and dangerous land.

Now I'm part of the family.
  We set off after lunch, for a phone card and money.  Mr. Bhasin promptly decides which phone plan is best and how much my annual budget should be.  He also determines how much money I should take out for the next month.  I'm a bit overwhelmed by his directness, and India, and willingly give in to his advice ~ entrusting myself fully to his care.  I'm truly grateful that he has taken such care of me.  I should add that Mr. Bhasin also has a wonderful smile and infectious laugh.  When he laughs and smiles, especially over our evening whiskey, I feel at once part of the family and totally at ease.

 

Mrs. Bhasin is a warm and sweet woman with silver hair, bright brown eyes, and a smile that makes me want to fall asleep in her lap.

Lotus Temple in Delhi, India
  She relays Sufi and guru stories to me, and we talk of her former work with the U.S. and Israeli consulate in India.  Also, she is preparing to see her guru for 4 days.  I'm fascinated by the guru phenomena.  I feel like I want a guru, but am turned-off by the blind, unquestioning devotion it requires.  But Mrs. Bhasin seems relaxed, at peace, and happy.  She advocates that each person find and follow their own way, and eschews the fanaticism I associate with ardent religious fervor.  So my mind is open.  

 

Yesterday brought a blitz tour through Delhi with my driver, who was borrowed from a nearby family.  Over a span of 4 hours I visited the Lotus Temple , Lodhi Gardens, Connaught Circle, Jantar Mantas, and the Indian Gate.

My driver on my tour of Delhi.
  The car radio spit out tunes from an old cassette tape that had poor covers of American Pie as well as Eminem, and Justin Timberlake.  I laughed from the backseat at the absurdity of it ~ as we sped past scooter rickshaws, cars, construction, and women and children in rags.   

 

Driving through Delhi in the back of the chauffeur driven car put me into the space of comparing the extremes of Indian life, and my life.  At home I looked up, and saw all those with more than me.  I embraced my inadequacy - in income, lack of home, "coolness"...whatever else, and everything else.  Those feelings and thoughts are still very much present, as is the wafting thoughts of what am I gong to do with my life.  But here, life is different and in a sense "richer".  Children beg and perform cartwheels between oncoming traffic for a rupee or two.

More Lotus.
  Men haul huge sacks or bricks behind peddle rickshaws, and women and children emerge from corrugated metal homes that line the freeway.  Huge temples pierce the smog, beautiful sari-clad women crisscross the street, and huge malls rise from arid dirt.  Here I feel in between ~ neither rich nor poor.  But I'm only a new tourist in this place, a tourist to this ancient way of life - but also a culture pushing to modernize.  It seems we all struggle to stand, while gravity relentlessly pulls us down. 

 

To prepare for India, I've read Eat Pray Love and Holy Cow.  Comparing the two in the smoggy Delhi dust, Holy Cow seems a much more honest portrayal of India .  Granted Elizabeth Gilbert never saw the outside of her ashram.  But also it seems that EPL reads like a Lifetime movie - urging that enlightenment is 3 easy installments away.

These amazing instruments at Jantar Mantas can supposedly tell the time, date, and equinoxes in both the eastern and western hemisphere. Its 12:00.
  Sarah MacDonald of Holy Cow roamed India in search of spirituality.  Her adventures showed her the multitude of pathways to God, and the reality of living India tested and crumbled the budding spirituality as it formed.  Still the vast and chaotic world provided faith that triumphed, at least partly, over the cruel, harsh, and meaningless violence living life entails.

 

So I've now turned to the Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho.  In the introduction, I find a paragraph that reminds me of my quest:  "Like Santiago, the shepard boy, we all need to be aware of our personal calling.  What is a personal calling?  It is God's blessing, it is a path that God chose for you here on Earth.

And they are huge.
  Whenever we do something that fills us with enthusiasm, we are following our legend.  However we don't all have the courage to confront our dream."  He explains the 4 obstacles to realizing our Personal Legend:  1. Belief its impossible; 2. Love for others and fear of hurting them when we abandon them;  3.  Fear of defeat; and 4.  Fear of realizing the dream for which we fought all our lives. 

 

I strongly recommend that anyone who has not read this novel, at least, go grab a cup of coffee at Borders, grab the book from the shelf, and read the introduction, its worth the $3.50 latte. 

 

p.

Lodhi Gardens
s. - I'm reminded of the T.V. news I watched while crossing Indian Customs.  The T.V. Caption read, "Let them Cheer", and the news was covering girls' attempt to cheerlead in India.  It flashed between girls dancing in clubs, and stock footage of cheerleaders in sweats.  Last night I dreamt of Katie leading a cheerleading video, with many dancers.  But the camera kept focusing on her.  I think there might be a future in bringing her cheer talents to 1.1 billion people in the throngs of modernization.  For this advice I ask only for 1/10th of her fortune...

 

glennisnz says:
well written. The culture really gets to you over there, you can't not be touched by it the enormaty of it.
Posted on: Aug 25, 2008
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Mr. and Mrs. Bhasin, who took such…
Mr. and Mrs. Bhasin, who took suc…
Now Im part of the family.
Now I'm part of the family.
Lotus Temple in Delhi, India
Lotus Temple in Delhi, India
My driver on my tour of Delhi.
My driver on my tour of Delhi.
More Lotus.
More Lotus.
These amazing instruments at Janta…
These amazing instruments at Jant…
And they are huge.
And they are huge.
Lodhi Gardens
Lodhi Gardens
Me
Me
New Delhi
photo by: peeyushmalhotra