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. 

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