January 23, 2012

Reminiscing Asia (3): a Delhi morning

Delhi/ on the back of a bicycle rickshaw
Originally uploaded by macchi.

India had never really been on my list of places to visit. Somehow it didn't appeal, and had no particular interest in going there.

This changed over the last few years, through books I've read, movies I've seen and work I've done which involved India. This was reinforced by a very short work trip to India - 3 days in Delhi, 3 days in Mumbai. And though I could not really do much other than my work meetings, the stay there was quite a revelation of what India is like.

To me, India is not Asia. Or well, not the Asia that I know which is mostly East-Asia.

What struck me most is how everything everyone is everywhere at the same time. It may sound strange but I'm used to Asian cities (KL, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Osaka etc etc) where everything is more or less compartmentalized. Yes, there's chaos everywhere but in the expensive parts of town it's tidy, clean, expensive-looking with likewise people there. And the poor people, well... they are somewhere else for the most part.

India isn't like this at all, which was unexpected but also much more confronting than what I was used to. You would be in a taxi going to meetings, and passing a family with many many kids living underneath the highway in full view of everyone.

In a way, this trip was quite comfortable as I didn't need to go out by myself much. I do want to go back and travel by myself, but that will be such a different experience than elsewhere that I'm not sure if it's something I'd enjoy or want to do by myself (which is usually not a problem).