Posted by: janpierce | December 3, 2010

Days in Delhi

We said our goodbyes in Allahabad and flew Air India to Delhi yesterday. The flight was uneventful except for being one hour late. We’ve never flown Air India when it was on time. The air around Delhi is heavy with pollution just as it was in Allahabad and I think once again of the things we take for granted living in the pristine Northwest of the U.S. Clean air, water, streets, beautiful mountains and the nearby Pacific Ocean. As we drove from the new airport in Delhi to Rodrick’s home I saw lots of changes. The airport used to be dark and dingy and dirty. Now it is beautiful, nicely decorated and clean. There are no crowds of beggars around trying to “carry” your luggage for you. It’s quite a dramatic change. Then there are new freeways and flyways to make the drive safer and quicker. Once you leave those main roads though, it’s back to the usual streets with dirt piles, animals, and all the rest.

   After visiting for a bit and having a nice dinner we went to bed only to be kept awake by massive fireworks (weddings), dogs barking and later on a persistent mosquito that Roger finally slew with one blow about 4;30 in the morning. Luckily no one is an early riser here. People tend to eat their evening meals about 7:30 or 8:00 in the evening and then stay up later than we do working.

   Today we took a tour of Rodrick’s new buildings built to house Christian conferences. There are over 59 rooms with beds, conference meeting rooms, kitchens and lots of bathrooms. Everywhere I look in his neighborhood there are new buildings going up.

   Since the weather is getting colder in the northern part of the country everyone is getting out their winter clothes and blankets and spreads. We saw people airing out these items in Allahabad and also today here in Delhi. Since all the laundry ends up hanging on rooftops or balconies we see all of it. There is no heat system in any of the buildings so when the temperatures drop at night we just put on more clothing.

   Another continual shock to me is that brand new buildings look like they’re ancient. Shalini’s home was only six years old, yet the walls, doors and just everything looked like it had been around for one hundred years. Part of it is the building materials available, another part is a lower level of technology in the workmanship and then the polluted environment drops a layer of grit and dirt on everything. Couple that with high humidity that blisters paint and grows mildew and you have a new structure that  looks very old. There is something unsettling to me about all of that, but there is no quick answer for it.

   I’m adding some pictures and I hope a video or two of Sports Day in Allahabad. The track is just mown grass and some of the kids ran barefoot. B ut it was a great event nonetheless.

   Roger and Rodrick are off at a wedding reception for one of the neighbors. The womenfolk weren’t invited. Hmmmm. Rodrick’s wife Neetu and I will make an apple pie tomorrow. Twinkle, now 18 is studying for her TOEFL test. After looking through her study books I’m glad I don’t have to take it. Adesh is in third grade and Avajit is nearly two. Everyone is doing well and it’s a busy household with all the assorted servants and young people getting training as they live here.

   I’m thinking of all of you putting up your Christmas trees and getting all snug inside with the weather in winter mode. Think of me suffering with 75 degree days  up on the rooftops. 🙂



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