Today marks the one-week anniversary of my arrival in Delhi! Although I was nervous about how I would acclimate, it couldn’t be better. The weather was probably my biggest concern, as it usually hovers around 105F, but since my arrival I have survived a day that was 111F and learned to drink about 3 liters of water before dinner to help deter heat exhaustion. Now that I’ve been here a week, I also feel comfortable saying that Delhi is a carb-o-holic’s dream city. I can’t get enough of the rava masala dosa, paneer nann, and butter nann. When I take a break from the bread and potatoes, it’s usually for sweets, which lead to the (un)fortunate instance when I tried to order two scoops of ice cream, only to be served two separate, but equally wonderfully, ice cream cones.
My accommodation is fantastic – I’m walking distance from my office, a Café Coffee Day, the Central Market, and the metro station. The market is potentially dangerous because I’ve already purchased two scarves (which are obviously necessary in this climate) and my coffee addiction has not wavered. At my house there is also a resident stray cat with kittens (she lives on the roof) but I avoid her because I saw her carrying a rat up the stairs yesterday. With the monsoon coming, I’m curious to see if I will be able to continue to walk around so freely.
From my balcony, I have an excellent view of a little green area where yesterday I saw some men lowering a steel beam with only a pulley system and their feet. This picture doesn’t capture the ingenuity.
Additionally, my housemates and colleagues are fantastic. Abby and Laura are interns at Chintan with me, so click through for their blogs. Make sure to give them some comment love! While you’re at it, “Like” Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group on Facebook – one of my projects is to expand the visibility of this page and possibly create one for the waste-pickers to update themselves, but more on my projects at a later date.
Delhi is just like any other rapidly developing city, but a few things did surprise me. First, the metro has a “ladies only” car. At first I didn’t understand the appeal of the segregation, but then I experienced what can only be called a stampede of commuters rushing on and off the train. It is not taboo to push; in fact, good luck trying to get off the metro car without pushing or being pushed. The process is fairly dramatic and I can understand how women, especially with small children, prefer not to get trampled. This setup also allows for a small safety net after dark, which gives women who travel alone to feel a little more secure in the infamous Delhi evenings. I have really come to appreciate this car’s presence.
I was also surprised that I have to get a pat-down every time I enter the metro, just like at the airport. There is also an xray machine. Lastly, I was surprised to find that most people work at least every other Saturday. Many individuals at my office work long hours and rarely have a day off! Not my favorite Delhi tradition.
Check back soon 🙂
Hindi phrase of the day: queseho? How are you?
Posted By Clara Kollm
Posted Jun 9th, 2011