Sunday, 21 February 2016

Namaste Delhi

How do I write this first blog post? Where shall I start? In what direction will I take it? Do I just talk about the move, or the area, the food, the slums, the traffic.....or,or,or

Already within just a week, like Delhi, like India in itself, it can't be just one thing to focus on. There's too much going on, too much noise, smell, colour, to keep your mind on just one point. I've struggled to get started, I'm not sure if this is what's called 'writers block' - I wouldn't call myself a writer, so it can't be that, perhaps it's because I've not written for 6 months. Or it is just probably the fact that it's a new country, and what a country, that my head is just spinning with the assault on my senses that my mind, let alone my fingers are bouncing from thoughts to thoughts. 

If you've been following Delhi Tales, since its conception, on its Facebook page, over the last month or so, you will have seen my short bullet points on the build up to the move and a few photos of the first week. Photos for awhile will be taken on the phone as until our shipment arrives (hopefully all intact and nothing missing. It will be unpacked in Mumbai checked and thoroughly scrutinized before taxes paid and loaded onto numerous small trucks before its drive from Mumbai to Delhi!) I will have no computer for my camera to upload onto. It's very frustrating at the moment using my phone, as I know the shots I want but the phone just isn't up to the task.... Or it could just be me that's not up to it :) this post, as well as the next few, will have to be written via the phone, so please bear with me as things don't flow quite so easily this way. We are still awaiting Internet as well so currently using mobile data with a speed which I'm sure even a tortoise would be embarrassed over! 

As I'm writing this the doorbell has just gone and its Saleem, our appartment guard, bringing me the daily newspaper. Saleem is a 'sweet young thing' from the NE of India, so quiet I'm not sure if he's the best security guard there could be! He was terrified of Oscar when we first arrived but now brings the paper daily so he can have his morning cuddle with him! 

Talking of newspapers, it gets delivered 7 days a week, ok 6... Sunday's and Monday's both come on Monday! This service (Saleem not included) comes to a grand total 160 INR (£1.60) a month for paper and delivery! Our rubbish gets collected on a daily basis, we just leave in a bag, on the steps, early morning each day. It gets picked up by a guy on a bike, sorted and taken away all for the grand total of 260 INR (£2.60) a month. So ridiculously cheap it's almost criminal! I have to say the cheapness of life here has been an eye opener, yes, if you want to buy certain imported goods you will be paying over the odds but, in general life is cheap (in more ways than one when you read stories of murder and rape in the newspaper, but that's a story for another time) 

We've moved to an area called Vasant Vihar in the South of Delhi, not far from the airport and if you catch the traffic just right, it's just 20 mins for Ms commute (catch it just 5 mins wrong and it can be up to 2 hours) it's supposedly quite an expat area, with numerous embassies, we have Botswana and Belarus as neighbours. I'm saying that it's an expat area but in all honesty I've seen very little sign of this, with mainly drivers, guards and maids around. I'm sure there must be plenty of friendly expats around, I can't be the only person walking their dog, doing their own shopping and walking the streets.....

One thing which I'll learn to live with is the dust, dust and oh more dust... It's everywhere. Strangely enough it's not the street dogs, that have their own patch on every road, or the cows that nonchalantly wander passed the appartment adding to the piles of 'poo' ( no one picks up after their dog here) it is the dust that is the stand out negative of week one, but I'm sure I'll soon not notice. Just as the rubbish, traffic, poverty and noise would of seemed shocking just a few years ago, before we've been so lucky to explore other parts of SE Asia and seen and become complacent too, so the dust will too!!

The street dogs were intimidating at first, especially when Oscar moved in on their patch! But in fact we've a lovely ensemble of old boys, there is 'bad leg' 'droopy tongue, 'old boy' 'Doby' and 'the other 2' that 'work' our street. They all get fed and looked after to a certain extent, Doby is the youngest and has been 'humanised' He's taken a shine to our old man and has even taken to joining me and Oscar on our morning loop. There are other dogs, on other stretches, which we're still working on doggie relations with and I do take M along for our evening doggie strolls passed them. All in all its been a fairly stress free transition for him... Thankfully

So I've completed just over a week here now. I've found all the local shops in V.V. (no supermarkets like we're used to in UK and SG, although in the larger malls there are a few) I've found a bakery that sells the most buttery of buttery croissants and very naughty cakes. I've discovered the local parks. We have a driver, it's taking some getting used to but he's great for local knowledge. He took us to the INA Market last weekend (view the photos on Facebook) where we stocked up on freshly ground spices, utterly fresh veg and chicken and mutton (goat) that was so fresh it was alive a few minutes before! I've found a park for walking in, but need to find a much bigger one! I've just started exploring a few sights and have started the list of places to visit... tombs, temples, markets etc. My biggest issue is getting my confidence back, somewhere since leaving SG it's disappeared slightly, I need to fight my preconceptions of India that have been instilled over my lifetime but at the same time be very aware to my surroundings. This can be quite difficult when you are silently stared at on your walks, or you see the slums backing on the neighbouring blocks, or the street children tugging your clothes. But life is new and I do like a challenge. I'm a stubborn so and so, and if someone tells me not to do something I'm always tempted to do the opposite! 

It's early days and what can I say about them. India is full of contradictions and opposites. Exciting, scary, colourful, vibrant, dusty, smelly, noisy, peaceful, musical, happy and incredible sad.... Oh and did I say dusty!! :) 

Buzzing, I can't wait to discover more....