New Delhi, India – Scene in front of Delhi Train Station
Original Post March 2008 – Some overload being in a new place with fresh eyes. I walked from our hotel down to the corner and two blocks more. Overload. The street is full, hard to take in. The sidewalk is blocked with people, people talking, people spitting, a young girl with a bent leg softly grabs my ankle, a man has set up shop ironing clothes with an antique coal powered iron. The street is a river flowing with tuk tuks and bicycle rigshaws, cars and the occasional ox cart piled high with huge bundles and three or four riders. Everyone is swerving and honking and there is always a near miss. I think there is a system but it’s indiscernible. There is a small temple around a tree. Women are preying and draping garlands about, a sahdu holy man sits nearby smoking. There is a larger temple further on with men in orange robes on the filthy steps. I’m forced to the street. I avoid anything wet, occasionally someone will appear in a doorway and throw a bucket of liquid in to the street. The road is lined with shops, clothes, plastic stuff, shops with jute and cardboard, street side restaurants and men selling bettle nuts, a boy is washing dishes in the gutter. I walk by a line of bicycle rigshaws. Over and over the drivers ask “please sir you ride” following me for a short distance. A lady in a sari with a baby approaches indicating with her hand to her mouth and saying over and over “chipati, chipati”. The baby’s eyes are black in the Indian way. My eyes stay ahead. I come to an overpass, I go under. Men are sprawled about. Smoking, cooking, sleeping all in filthy rags. I step around a sleeping man with no legs. The noise is deafening, the smoke of exhaust thick. Grimy garbage piled high. I step in something horrible. I keep going. Young boys approach. Selling, “please sir please sir” selling flashlights, selling necklaces, selling a dance from a monkey, selling a hand made drum, selling something plastic. Keep going, no eye contact. Music blares, high and squeaky, maybe it’s chanting. The electricity is out, roaring generators run belching smoke to power shops. I walk by a row of open urinals. A man is pissing on the ground next to them. Groups of men sit around a stall drinking chai tea. Pots of oil at rolling boil cook food. All this in two blocks. Everything is chaos, but for them everything is as it should be.