7/21/2010 to 7/24/2010 | Delhi , India

Still Rebuilding Delhi

By the time I finally left Nepal, 4 months after I had arrived, the subcontinent was in the midst of the monsoon.  I have generally managed to avoid traveling much in the Indian monsoon.  A time when city streets are flooded with overflowing sewage, cloths never dry, mold thrives, and mosquitoes fill the humid air.  Despite the abundance of water everything seems dirtier in the monsoon.  Though I could hardly blame the monsoon for the filthy state of my room in Gorakhpur, where while using the toilet I stared at a window sill adored with a miscellaneous array of wrappers and a used condom.  Fortunately I only needed to stay one night and caught a train to Delhi the following day.

I arrived in Delhi to a city under construction, or should I say, still under construction.  With the Common Wealth Games slated to be held in Delhi in a few months time, the city was under going a full scale face lift.  Indians were building it up like it was their answer to the Beijing Olympics, and seemed oblivious to the fact that while the whole world cares about the Olympics, no one, well other than India, really cares about the Common Wealth Games.  Nevertheless it seemed a good excuse to spruce up the city, and get a few politicians and businessmen rich, or more rich, in the process.  The contactors, who no doubt bribed there way in to the jobs, seemed to be very good at tearing things up less so at putting them back together.  Every time I returned to Delhi throughout the past two years, there was a new section of the city reduced to rubble, and little to no observable progress on the sections previously reduced to rubble.  On this visit it was Main Bazaar in Paharganj, the tourist ghetto of Delhi.  The authorities had decided to widen the road by lopping off sections of the buildings that encroached on the street, leaving the muddy rubble strewn road lined with buildings cut open as if chopped in half by some sadistic axe wielding giant.  I wondered at the wisdom of starting such a project with so many other projects far from completed and a deadline fast approaching.  The monsoon and warzone that was Paharganj did not make me want to linger in Delhi on this occasion and I hopped on a bus to Manali the following day.


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