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Posts tagged ‘India’


 

Wandering the streets of New Delhi today I found myself taking respite in City Forest Hauzrani.  One of the few tranquil spots I’ve come across in this otherwise hectic city.  The park also offers shelter for dozens of stray dogs.

28 Hours


Nearly 28 hours ago I left San Fransisco to fly half way around the world to India.  A week from now I will repeat the process, but in reverse.

Smog and More Smog

The smog is thick in Delhi. Really thick.

Homeless

Stray dogs are commonplace in Delhi – across all my visits, I’ve probably seen hundreds.  Surprisingly, most seem quite calm, but as a precaution I never get too close, as I have no desire to visit an emergency room in a foreign country.

I spent most of today visiting a college campus, participating in student presentations and meeting with various staff and faculty.  However, at one point this afternoon I found myself with about half an hour of free-time, so I wandered outside to check email.

No sooner than I settled in, the dog pictured above decided to join me.  Seemingly self-conscious not to venture too close for my comfort, she sat quietly by my side until I retreated back indoors.

It pains me to see so many stray dogs wandering the streets here.  The dog owner/lover in me wants to bring them all back on the plane with me and give them a better life.

Earthquake

I’m spending the week abroad, working from my employer’s New Delhi office.  Today a 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck the region, which the U.S. Geological Survey reported as having an epicenter based in Afghanistan.

Despite being over 650 miles away from the epicenter, the tremors caused the 6 story office building I work in to shake for about 30 seconds … which felt like an eternity.  Immediately all building in the giant office complex were evacuated, flooding the streets with thousands of workers.

Reports are early, but I fear for those much closer to the damage.  Today was a humbling reminder that Mother Nature wields a powerful fist.

Mixed Emotions

Feeling a bit cooped-up in my hotel this afternoon, I went for a walk though one of the local neighborhoods.  It’s been damn hot and dusty in Delhi this week, and despite the haze and stink in the air, I was happy to venture out to explore a bit.

This is my 4th visit in 8 months and I’m approaching the equivalent of 5 weeks “experience” with the city.  Now, walking the streets of Delhi, I’m beginning to feel pretty comfortable with my surroundings, but still struggle with the extreme poverty which is everywhere.  By contrast, in the states it is easy for me to maintain a bubble of ignorant bliss; I know there is poverty, but the reality is I rarely encounter it directly.

Such dynamic seemingly does not exist here.  The juxtaposition of those who have and those who do not have is stark and very much in your face.  I cannot imagine how anyone from a first world country can visit and not feel guilty.  Today I was reminded how fortunate I am and how easy my life is in comparison to so many here.

Then I returned to the posh hotel I’m calling home for 10 days.

I’m still trying to reconcile my feelings for this city – it’s filthy, the traffic is horrific, core infrastructure is awful, generally speaking I don’t enjoy the traditional foods, and much to my frustration I cannot find a decent beer anywhere.  On the other hand … people are incredibly warm, the history is both fascinating and abundant (including three incredible World Heritage Monuments), and perhaps most impressive – the human spirit of resourcefulness and survival is strong.  My experiences here really have been amazing.

Despite my mixed emotions, one thing is for certain – both literally and metaphorically, this place is a world away from my day-to-day existence in the states.  India is such an interesting place and I’m grateful for these opportunities to visit.

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Cultural Differences

I’m currently in New Delhi, India … and this being my fourth visit in nine months, I’m starting to notice trends and other subtle nuances.One thing which strikes me as being very different here versus the U.S. is the approach to public safety. Things I would very rarely see in the states can be very commonplace here. A simple case in point … this photo of a re-purposed storage room in my office. Because power is unreliable in New Delhi, most businesses – including my employer, maintain onsite back-up power source(s). For my company, the solution consists of a large bank of batteries, inverters, and chargers hard-wired into the building’s electrical system.

The lack of basic safety features with our set-up is hard for me to grasp. It’s worth mentioning that nothing about this space is illegal, in violation of code, or even uncommon. My sense is no one gives this room a second thought but me.

Still, every time I walk past this room without a door, I cannot help but worry. via Instagram