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From Delhi, with rain

March 13, 2007

Delhi is intense. Intensely intense. And being alone here, is, well…. intense.

My head is spinning. I’ve been walking through the markets of old Delhi and came across this ‘cyber cafe’. Old Delhi is like stepping back in time a hundred (or thousand) years, except for the scooters and the riot of electrical wires strung overhead. It’s just too much to take in. Really. So, I don’t really try to take it all in. I walked and walked through the market’s tiny streets and when I found an open spot I just stood there for a really long time. It comes at you like watching twenty bizaar movies at the same time. I’m in the process of letting go of the notion that I can figure this place out. When I realize there’s no way I can comprehend what the hell I’m seeing, I extrapolate that to my own life and realize that, when I think I have it all figured out and tied up in a bow, I’m deluding myself.

I love it here. And I hate it a little, too.

The next few days are a combination of stop and go, with a car and driver, overnight train and airplane. Pushkar, Jaipur, Vrindavan, Mathura, Agra and Varanasi. Then back to Delhi to fly to Katmandu.

I arrived Sunday on very little sleep so I napped for several hours. Or hid, depending on how you look at it. I’m staying in the Karol Bagh neighborhood where the predominant business is fine ‘jewellery’. Several of the bigger shops have guards standing outside with 12-guage shotguns hanging from their shoulders. Second to those are the numerous stalls that sell scooter and car parts. There are folks in the street and on the sidewalk rebuilding Vespa transmissions and welding parts to old Royal Enfield motorcycles. By dusk, the sidewalks begin to glow deep amber from the numerous coal fires that are started in order to cook dinner. It rained last night, with deep thunder and lightening that cracked through the darkness, revealing huddled figures sipping dinner from their bowls.

There are fires all over the place. Yesterday morning, I saw three men build a fire in the doorway of an abandoned jewelry store. A fire made from the piles of garbage laying all around. Apparently they were building it to keep warm. It was such an odd sight… well dressed men gathering garbage in a pile, on the front step of a business, with others walking in and out of the building, stepping around the fire.

I don’t get this place. And that’s part of the amazing charge.

I was energized that first night, feeling the thriving spirit of this city and all the people in it. There are some extremely poor people here, but most of them don’t seem to let it stop them from engaging in whatever enterprise will bring them their next meal. They work hard. Extremely hard. And they scrape together a life and they don’t ask for anything, except your business. There are beggers but there are many fewer than I expected to see. There are countless schemes and scams and ripoffs and the corruption runs so thick here that the ‘black’ economy is almost as large as the legitimate one. And there is an innocence that belies the ancient and worldly hardness that is read in the faces. There are wealthy folks here, too. Rich from all over the world. And there is garbage. Everywhere. And after the rain, mud. There are faces of children beaming and laughing and lighting up when they see my camera. They clamor for me to take their pictures. The poorer ones then want ten Rupees for the honor but most just love the interaction. Folks all over stop to say hello and ask where I’m from. It’s impossible for me to determine at first if these greetings are genuinely open connections or openings for some solicitation or complex scam.

And there are some of the most beautiful women on the planet. And they’re dressed in the saris and the Indian pajama and kurta that flow in the breeze. I have to say something about the women here. They are painfully beautiful. Their luscious dark skin and eyes ‘as deep as a well’, jet black hair tied back to reveal the gold dandling from thier ears. It is yet another contrast in this beguiling country that, in a place where even holding hands in public is considered innappropriately sexual, they wear the sexiest piece of clothing ever devised. The sari is without question the most amazing arrangement of silk ever conceived. It seems to barely wrap their bodies with brightly colored wind. Completely tantalizing.

And, a pregnant belly sticking out of a silk sari? HOT.

I hope I don’t offend my Muslim brothers and sisters by describing how sexy the veil is. Holy smokes. If they wanted to make women sexier by revealing only their perfect eyes and the occassional piece of gold, they have succeeded.

I just don’t get what’s going on with that and I won’t try. I’m sure folks more scholarly than me have written volumes on the sexuality of Muslim women. I certainly won’t use this space to discuss oppression or inequality. That discussion is beyond the scope of this here little weblog.

I’m being kicked out of here. It’s 9:00 and time for Indians to start thinking about dinner. I love a country that eats dinner between 9:00 and 10:00.

Peace, y’all.

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One Comment
  1. Most definately, the listed females are good-looking however these ones sex crazy. View Lourdes Klang http://tinyurl.com/yjkpg7

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