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.
Posts tagged ‘New Delhi’
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.
The smog is thick in Delhi. Really thick.
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.
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.
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