Well as I suggested yesterday it may take more time than we have to fall in love with Delhi, and I think that is the case. Today has been a great day and Delhi is growing on me, although I don’t think I would be in a rush to come back. After a wonderful sleep we were up and about and ready to explore. Quick auto ride and we are at the home of the assasinated Indira Ghandi, a woman who judging by the crowds at her place today, was very much respected by the Indian population. Her life is very well documented and her home kept in pristine condition, even the sari that she wore when assainated lay in a cabinet for people to see. The path she walked and fell on the day of the shooting perfectly preserved.
After the home of Indira Ghandi it was off to the Ghandi Smriti, the place where Ghanidji spent his last 144 days before his assasination. The grounds again kept in pristine condition, the pathways surrounded by quotes he had made during his life. The room where is slept kept in perfect condition with his spinning wheel and few possessions kept in one corner and his walking stick and chappels in the other! On the grounds outside concrete footprints had been laid to show Ghandi’s last steps on the day he was killed as he walked for morning prayer. I can’t explain how it actually felt to walk into the rooms and follow his footsteps to the place he died. The museum gave a great picture and insight into his life, his compassion and his love – his hope for non-violence in a world filled with violence, in a nation that had endured such violence and oppression.
I think this mornings adventures has reminded me not just of the colonisation of India but also Australia, it has reminded me of the arrogance of the elite powers who see difference become threatened and respond with military power in a bid to take charge. Even as we walked between Indira Ghandi’s and Mahatma Ghandi’s place we are reminded of the gap between rich and poor in India. The streets, in fact the whole area where these houses are found are filled with huge houses, BMW’s, wide pathways and security guards, a far cry from the centre of the city where people line the streets to sleep and beg. It seemed that street people where kept out of the area, after all the high commisisoners would not want that on their doorstep would they???? I wondered how that would go down with both Ghandi’s here who wanted to see equality in a nation so unequitable?
After an amazing morning we headed to the local Saravhan Bhavan for lunch, never thought I would see the day that I queued to get in a restaurant, but we did and it was worth it, amazing rice sambar and thali! The it was a wander into and around Connaught Place before the heavens opened and we returned to our hotel.
It’s been a great day, a day of contrasts. I started the day popping out on the street to see a crow eating a dead rat on the street, a young boy being taught to ride a bike that was about 3 times the size of him, a man walking down the street with a push button telephone then lifting the corded receiver to his ear, to travelling down the palatial streets to the museums where you see the lifestyles of the rich beofre returning to the hustle and bustle of the centre with small children no older than 3 who have already learned the English for “only 10 rupees” the maimed bodies of beggars and the great skills of the young men offering to take us to good shops! India never ceases to amaze me, sadden me and remind me of the reality that the real threat to humanity is humanity itself!
Tomorrow morning is an early start as we head off to the train station to brave what the lonely planet describes as “the worst touts” to catch our train to Agra for the next part of our adventure. Hopefully I will get a blog in while I am there otherwise it will be on our return to Delhi before Varanasi (yes see returning already!)