Tuesday, 1 March 2016

The other side to India

Warning do not read this if you're of a squeamish or sensitive disposition! I'm writing this as a Westerner clearly recently arrived and with all the views and preconceptions that come with that. I mean no offense to India and the lovely Indians I know. I wondered if I should write this post but... yes, I can't write about my time here and only show the glossy shiny side

Toilet habits
Men pee everywhere! Literally everywhere, you can't walk or drive more than 5 minutes without a man standing urinating! OK so there is a definite lack of public conveniences here and with the millions of residents it's obvious there's going to be issues. There are a few public loos for men... Note I said men not women. Indeed we have one just a 5 minute walk from us, on the way to one set of shops, but the stench is rough to put it mildly and it is usually overflowing over the path and into the road. The newspaper last week was bemoaning the lack of facilities (I couldn't agree more) however it was angled at facilities for men. The angle was how it's unacceptable that men have no choice but to relieve themselves in public. One thing that struck me.... Do women not have the same requirements? I'm not saying they don't, but as of yet, I've yet to spy a women relieving herself alongside the road or alleyways. Having said this there are many facilities in restaurants and malls etc Fortunately I've not succumbed to any issues! 

We have a walkway between appartment blocks, just across the road from us, where all the dogs are walked, or the street dogs patrol. We walk Oscar down there, whilst I try not to breathe for 5 minutes. No one picks up after dogs here, so I seem to be playing hop scotch as I hop through here watching extremely carefully where I'm walking!  M calls it 'bomb alley' although that's a polite name I call it 'S*** alley' It doesn't bare thinking about what else is there. The poor guards and drivers who sit outside the appartments working 12 hours days have no toilet facilities, that's right none! I'll leave the rest to your imagination. I dread to think what 'bomb alley' will be like come mid summer. 

Sexual assaults
The way women are treated here by a huge number is totally unacceptable. Every single day in the Delhi Times, this is, at the very least, one report of a rape and very often gang rapes and abductions. I know there are over 18 million people in Delhi alone but the total disrespect for women is staggering. What's frightening is that it's not just the uneducated that inflict these crimes, last week a school girl was gang raped by group of year 12 boys, these are modern educated boys who still have this attitude. Today's story was that of a 32 year old Dutch tourist, who's sister reported her missing. The police have thankfully found her but she's in a very distressed state and had been again sexually assaulted. This attitude towards women is totally unacceptable and is never never justifiable. For all friends out there I can stress that I have a driver that takes me everywhere and I never travel alone at night and am uber careful of my surroundings. Sadly I will not be able to explore as I did in Singapore. 




Murders and abductions
Maybe it just reported more here, or the fact there are so many people living here but the papers are full again of murders and abductions daily. Police reports of missing people, predominantly children appear in the paper. Is life thought of as so worthless? 



Smog, haze, smoke...
Whatever you may choose to call it there's no getting away with the high level of pollution here. It's a given that Delhi is one of the most polluted cities in the world. Each day there's a 'cartoon' as is shows the days pollution index. Thankfully it's not bad all year around, and I've already seen a big improvement in the 3 short weeks I've been here. There's much talk on improving things, a second trial period of alternate days driving is due to start again shortly. Talk of green homes and solar energy installations are muted. There is dust everehere (I may have possibly mentioned that a few times in my debut post!!!)  I will simply say any initiatives are in much need. It doesn't just affect Delhi or India, we all know that the world is slowly choking itself to death. 






Poverty
The poverty we will touch on another time, I'm not even sure how or when to discuss this. It's a known given that there is incredible poverty here, as in many places across the globe. Having said that the people are incredibly happy and seem to accept where they were born into. The caste system is something as a westerner that we can't really understand. I feel extremely guilty riding around in my car, with my driver, with disposable income in my bag. Commenting on how cheap everything is to buy here, when all I need is to look out of the car window to see the street sellers, peddling wares or begging. Children and families living on street corners. Sorting through bouquets of flowers discarded from flower shops, they pick off the dead petals and leaves, bunch together, mist with water and try to sell through car windows at the traffic lights. Just behind the appartment block in front of us is a tiny slum, made up of blocks taken up from pavements and tarpaulins, string and scraps of materials make up the rooftops. Many of these large slums are villages that have been in existence for hundreds of years and yet these people are invisible to many. 

Ok so I've got that off my chest! As I said no offense is made, there's plenty of negative issues in every country in the world, there is no Utopia. I just felt I had to mention these points as although I was prepared for them, there is no ignoring them. Without touching on these points Delhi Tales would not be a truthful representation of my time here in Delhi. I do however promise the next post will be happy smiley and all fluffy!! Xxx 

7 comments:

  1. Your post reminded me of our very early morning(4am ) taxi ride to Mumbai airport .Our driver stopped the car in the middle of nowhere with no one around and got out ....much to our relief and I'm sure his it was just to pee on the side of the road .Poverty ....we had a driver in Mumbai who used to live on the streets as a boy he was taken in by an English guy who used to run an orphanage there . I asked him about the street children ,he said they can get a free education but a lot of parents choose to send then out begging instead .So one has to wonder do you encourage these children by giving them money .BTW love reading your blog .

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    1. Our driver seems to know which ones to buy from and which not too. I'm just thankful for visiting other Asian countries so am slightly used to this but it's still so uncomfortable. Sadly we can't help everyone. Things need to change from a higher level and thankfully there are numerous charities etc. thank you again for following and comments are always welcome and great to read :)

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  2. And excellent post Bridget !!!!!!

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  3. Hey Bridget....I stumbled upon your blog today in the morning and felt like writing to you. An Indian, am a history buff and thus, I keep visiting various historical/heritage places strewn across the city, over weekends. There is so much to find/see/do in Delhi and I feel fortunate to be living here from this whole wide country. There is so much heritage, varied life stories woven together in different ways, new and old Delhi surviving side by side, new generation transportation filling up the road along with the things you mentioned- poverty, sexual abuses, hygiene and cleanliness, road traffic manners etc. All these make up this city what it is. You could see either ways. And I agree to your perspective, being not lived here, that is what you notice a lot in your day to day life.

    The way you mentioned, I understand, you would be here for some time, probably a few months or so. Am hopeful, you are able to meet the real people of this city, day in and out and know what makes this city/country the way it is and what makes so many people from Europe/America's qand other such countires come here visiting and want to see these things and culture live once in their life.

    Not being too serious about it, but this being my country, it did hurt me to see this post of yours highlighting the newspaper clippings as the mainstay. I am sure, in the long run, you will also be able to see the brighter side of Delhi and our country. So, I will be looking forward to your happy smiley next post.

    Take care and enjoy your stay here.

    Cheers...
    -prem

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  4. Hi Prem. Sorry but I have only noticed your message this morning so apologises for not replying sooner. I am sorry you were hurt by my post but as I said I meant no offense and felt that I had to mention the negatives as well as all the many positives of my life here in Delhi. Without that it would not be a true reflection of this vibrant city. I can assure you that I am already out discovering the rich history that can be found at every turn.

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