Humans. We learn fast and we forget fast. That is definitely applicable to me. I have been away from india for almost four months and I had forgotten a lot of things.
The population in India is big. It is dense, it is packed and it is crowded. Today I realised why so many first time visitors feel overwhelmed when they come to india. Even though it is my third time visiting, this time it hit me too. Hit-Light, Light Hit but still it hit me.
If you want something you have to get it. With such a dense population there is a form of struggle involved when in comes some everyday actions.. This is applicable too if you want to buy a ticket then make sure you get to the counter. There is no waiting in line. Everyone rushes to the counter, pushing, trying to get a ticket first. And you can imagine if everyone is doing that.
But it works. Here in India it works. No problem. No one gets mad or angry or too offended. It works. The problem lies with me and all other visitors. If I had come straight from Bangkok I would have gone into shock. There you stay in line, wait patiently for your turn, let passengers get off the train before anyone attempts getting on, you always offer someone else to go first, there is a lot of bowing and in general a lot of generosity. And all this towards complete strangers. Delhi is different. It is the opposite and it is hard to explain if one has never experienced it. The overwhelming factor is very high.
So I arrive to New Delhi and realise I had forgotten about all the squaching, pushing, honking and all other things that makes big part of what is different and special with India.
My last visit to india started and ended in New Delhi. I sort of fell in respectful love. I saw the dirt, the chaos, the poverty, the wealthy people, the poor people, I saw the contrasts. I saw people living their lives on the streets. Sleeping there, eating there, raising their children there. Living a life. I felt such respect. That was last september mid october. Weather was hot, 30+ celcius. When walking the streets I always tried to find some shade, a fan to cool me, anything that would ease the hot hot temperature.
Yesterday, 10 january, I arrived to New. Delhi. Took the same metro to city centre, negotiated with same tuk tuk driver about the price to my accomodation, and he drove the same streets as last time. I saw the same people sleeping on the streets.
But this time the temperature was 9 degrees celsius. People sleeping in the streets, layers of blankets I would guess wasn’t enough to shield from the cold. I gave them a thought, arrived to the hotel, checked in and five minutes later I could have a hot shower.
You know the feeling when you have waited for something for a long time and suddenly it is a reality. That happened this morning when I was ready to leave the hotel, the joy and anticipation , I was on my way to have a proper masala chai. My hotel is situated in between, on. one of the tiny alleys in the Old Bazar district. It is cold, I knew it would be so I am literally wearing all my clothes to keep warm. The smile on my face slowly turned into a sad face, a sad face.
I had forgotten what real poverty looks like. But most important, I had forgotten what poverty looks like when it is cold. It is rough but it is also full of love. To see how people care for each other.
My heart is bleeding for the people here. My heart is full of respect for the people here. My heart is full of love for the people here.
So this morning I go for a walk, it is cold, so I too stand close to the chai stall and drink my chai. That is where you meet to enjoy the warmth from the fire under the kettle, the hot chai and one can have a chat with the others.
I remember now. I remember a lot of things and it is humbling. We all need a reminder now and then. It is good to remember.