Squid in India

Mangoes, traffic, cows, chai masala, scooters, jasmine, joy, rain, sun, adventure!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Ganesh Chaturthi

Bangalore streets lined with colorful Ganesh statues for the festival.

My neighborhood had several community Ganesh statues decorated with flowers and lights.

Some friends and I headed down to the lake Sunday evening to watch the immersions. Because we were dropped off on the far side of the lake, we joined a colorful and musical procession with families and children around the lake to where the festival was being held.

This is part of Ulsoor Lake that was designated as the immersion area for the Ganesh statues. It was organized chaos; very festive and beautiful.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Gurdwara Chandi Chowk Sahib

This is Babu Singh. He brought me to a Sikh Temple in Delhi and showed me the ropes. We were pulled over by the police in the auto at one point. He got out to bribe them and when he returned I asked him why the police had pulled us over. He said, 'Oh I was red light jumping, its okay.'

Independence Day - Delhi

Delhi - Old and New

Streets in Old Delhi

India Gate in New Delhi - a monument built to commemorate the Indian soldiers who died in the World War I and the Afghan Wars.

Suvir and Jhoomur, my Delhi guides. They took me along to a dinner party where I met a Princess in a yellow sari, a nomadic Swami, an Anthropologist, and a Moroccan!

Baha'i Lotus Temple - Delhi

Monday, August 21, 2006


It was hot. The heat was the only thing that didn’t surprise me about Delhi. This was not the city I expected. It’s clean, has well maintained roads, large parks, modern buildings, and was well planned.

I was in an auto-rickshaw during the first monsoon rain. I haven’t seen raindrops that big, ever. It was sudden and fast, the little rickshaw filled up like a teacup. And we all laughed.
I felt such great relief that I was finally cool and then amusement that I was soaked to the bone but didn’t really care. It seemed everyone was in on the joke and as other rickshaws passed us everyone was laughing. Full heads tilted back laughing. When we turned down a less major street I saw children of all ages dancing in the rain and splashing in puddles in their underwear. Rain is good.

My home in Delhi was the Tibetan Refugee Colony, this is the entrance.

The streets of the colony were lined with carrom boards and the community seemed to be playing this game, a cross between air-hockey and pool, all day and night!

This is the Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India.

Delhi boasts the largest eco-friendly bus service in the world. All of the buses and auto-rickshaws run on CNG fuel (Compressed Natural Gas).


The Taj Mahal is amazing, breathtaking, and unreal. It’s actually beyond any of those words. Agra is beyond words on the other end of the spectrum. I can’t blame it really; it’s a town that became a tourist spot on a huge international scale. It was no match for the hordes of people and the opportunity to profit from them. So it’s smelly, dingy, and sketchy in all senses. I did meet some kind people (Raj the jewelry seller and Mukesh the bicycle rickshaw driver).
The hotel: probably the worst accommodation I have ever experienced. Bed bugs, no working toilet, no locks on the doors (outside or inside!), and in 112F weather there was a fan that was swinging from the ceiling by one old wire (I tried not to sleep directly underneath it for fear of decapitation). Truly uncomfortable conditions while on ‘vacation’ until I calculated just what I was paying for said accommodation and once I did (200 rupees or $5 per night) it all made sense. Lesson learned! Suffice it to say I was very happy to get on the train to Delhi after two nights and a Taj tour.