How else can I describe this place to you?
Half-demolished buildings expose the gaping mouths of doorways and crusted, jagged bricks.
Dust is everywhere. Small dirt particles that get in my nose and my eyes when the wind kicks up – the wind being a warm diaphanous wall of cake-y air that pastes itself on bodies like clay.
Cars never stop honking. Traffic is by far one of the most amazing feats of humankind that I have ever taken part in witnessing. Might I preface any further description by telling you that the white lines painted on the road don’t matter at all, and the entirety of the road is shared by all vehicles. India does not discriminate against bicycles and rickshaws pedaling mid-road, squished up against a large truck or bus. Rivers of cars and buses and trucks and rickshaws and bikes and motorcycles are constantly flooding down streets, peeling off from one river to join another in the traffic circles which dapple the area heavily. Pedestrians are side by side to the madness. And yet somehow the fluidity of this dance is hardly interrupted in an unfortunate collision. The amount of eyes and bodies that are engaged in the slew of traffic is truly amazing.
People are infinitely interested. I feel like I come as a package, with judgments attached to me, hanging off of my dusty blonde hair and embedded in my Californian clothing. I suppose people attach judgments to me wherever I am in life – but here it is blatant; no euphemisms, just how it is. It is crazy to see eyes that are associating so much with our appearance, as if our presence is a trigger of some sort which shows them exactly what they want to see.
Night life –
I’ve had two ‘bar’ experiences so far, and the latter of the two exceeded any expectation I had upon embarking on a tuk-tuk southward to find it. Went to a place called Urban Pind – a lonely planet recommendation, but we first heard of the place when Kelly (of course) stumbled across an ad in a magazine for it that flaunted their Ladies Night Wednesdays in which all females drink beer and mojitos on the house.
Imagine – a three story bar lounge with space to dance, space to sit, an orange toned dimness which permeated the first and second floor and bright pink and purple lights on the outskirts slightly illuminating a darkened dance floor. The top floor opened to the outside and let you sit at barstools by the deceivingly not-refreshing hot air that still milled about after midnight.
Walking into a place like this was too shocking, as the 99.9% of Delhi looks dusted over somehow – there are no sidewalks, there is construction on every corner, trash FLOODS the gutters, hot and ruddy… I feel like I could never read the outside of a place and get an idea of what is inside.
Being in this place brought on an utterly familiar feeling and made it comfortable to dance and act as I would back home when pounding down some cheap beer and listening to loud music that gets in me and dances me - and the large group we had made it easy to block out any unwanted stares or judgmental head bobs from the bartenders.
We were obviously wanted there; a picture taking man probably has about 100 shots of us dancing and drinking. We ended up posing as if we were on spring break in Cancun which emphasized its ridiculousness. I danced with some overzealous Indian girls who grabbed and tugged me into their dancing pit, but dancing with Indian boys struck differently, as they did not put their hands anywhere near me – it was not expected or assumed I would grind up to some dude’s horny pants whatsoever.
There seemed to be a mixture, actually, of males in the club. Some were having a great time, bouncing around dancing, but some seemed like they were slightly bothered and weren’t sure how to react to the web of people dressed with not quite so much modesty pressed in a hopping mesh of bodies. I wasn’t sure how to react to their reaction. Luckily, however, I didn’t have to care. Because nobody else seemed to – aaaaand… free beers and mojitos.
Also – a gem of the night – someone inquired if I was a salsa dancer. “Because you seem to dance that way.” Mmmm… I’ll take it.
I just awoke from a five hour midday slumber that was truly most bizarre – I was literally pulled into an immediate set of vivid dreams with a complete life of their own as soon as my eyes shut. Eyelids are merely a thin veil closing off reality to allow for dreamy surrealism to pour in. I think that my body has not yet come to grips with its new environment; it hasn’t a handle on where it is or the type of things that are circulating around it. I don’t think I have gotten a full night’s sleep upon getting here, but it has gone, for the most part, unnoticed; doing things and seeing things has taken precedence over any perception of fatigue. Today, however, succumbing finally to sleep my body craved has thrown me into a dazed state where I am finding it hard to tease apart dreams from the reality my body is living without conscious, attentive effort.
Needless to say this feeling is amazing – and making this experience all the more fantastical.
Walked outside and the air was surprisingly cool and mobile. “Cool” translates into a San Jose heat wave, yet the edge off of the powerful oven-like temperatures is noticeably refreshing. "Cool" means that an air conditioned room is 85 degrees. "Cool" means that I sleep underneath a ceiling fan on full blast bleating and bleating and bleating...
I am looking forward very much to Mussoorie; we head there on Saturday morning. The weather should be beautiful, absent of Delhi’s thick smoggy cover that doesn’t even allow for the visibility of clouds, blue sky, or stars. Really, the pollution lies so dense! Once the sun falls to a certain level in the sky, eyes can stare straight at it because of how dim it has become! As if someone covered a light bulb with mounds of opaque fabric!
I suppose I’ll be living here for another four months afterward so my lungs better get used to this.
Also I am itching to learn Hindi in Mussoorie. I am dying to interact in Hindi – I am still an eyesore even if I dress the part, but knowing Hindi will truly show a gracious appreciation for where I am living and a want to experience the closest thing to assimilation that I can possibly feel.