Blog 2: Settling into Connaught Circus (January 7, 2020)
The next thing was how these guys tried to trick me. Man! Something like that always happens. Dodgy Delhi again!
I saw these guys come up to me just outside the airport door. They showed me the prepaid taxi booth. It was no longer inside the airport. So I went there and paid my Rupees 400. Between five and six dollars. But they took me to a place a little farther. These are the police prepaid taxis. There were small yellow and black taxis lined up there. But they took me back and started calling on their phone for a car to come. Then I knew their game.
I told them that they were trying to fuck me over. I asked what all these small vehicles were there, because I took one of those last year.
This taxi mafia in Delhi is hard to crack. Finally, a guy agreed to take me in one of those. That’s the way it is supposed to work. They thought I would not know this.
When we got to Connaught Circus, the driver could not find Alka Hotel, even though I had the exact address and phone number. All these places look the same to me around Connaught Circus. But then, I recognized that old Madras Coffee House and then we found the Hotel, which is just a little farther.
I am a little cold in the room right now. It is 11:20, morning.
3:20 Afternoon. I went out with my Leica and finished the black and white roll that was in the camera. I first went to that old Madras Coffee House. I made a couple of photos in front and then went inside. These people around the hotel are bugging me a lot. And the rickshaw wallas bug one to say what hotel you are staying in. Some of them already know.
Anyway, I went into that coffee house and had a coffee. All the food that they serve there is South Indian. Dosa, idli and things like that. They asked me what I wanted. I ordered a coffee. They wanted me to order some food. I said that it is all South Indian, “but I am Punjabi” making a joke. I ordered something, but I guess they did not understand, because it did not come.
I had the coffee, real coffee, and a very different flavor that I have not tasted before. It was Rupees 80, but I just gave them a one-hundred note.
I asked, but they did not want me to make pictures inside. But I made a couple when they were not looking.
They still had their Christmas decorations up, with a tree and colored lights.
I went out and tried to take some pictures around the hotel. The auto rickshaw guys bug you and some beggar kids also hang around.
6:50. Took a nap. Three hours or so. I had made a few pictures out in front but those kids and rickshaw wallas kept bugging me. So I walked over to the Pind Baluchi restaurant near Regal Building acrosss the street. I ordered a chicken dish and a beer. What they call light Kingfisher is 4.7 percent. So even that is strong enough.
The room here is quite cold continuously, so I may be getting a sore throat.
I had some of the spicy sauce with a nan. That was delicious, but I did not care for the chicken. And anyway, it was three times more than I could possibly eat. I left most of it and drank the beer. I guess that it helped me to sleep. I did need to sleep. That’s for sure.
After that, I went around the corner where the old Kwality Restaurant is and finished that roll of film. Pushed to ISO 1600 in the Leica.
I woke up a little after 6:00 in the evening. It was a cloudy day. Some light rain.
There has been fighting between the ABVP and other students at Jawaharlal Nehru University and it is still going on. That is the Akhil Bharati Vidyarthi Parashad or all India Students Organization. This is a Hindu fascist outfit, linked to the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party). It is like a communal riot, except between groups of Hindus, mainly the BJP fascists, and those who are not Modi supporters.
Man! I am a bank teller machine. Everybody seems to want some money from you. I understand it. There are a lot of poor people. Very mixed. Right here in central Delhi, most people walking on the street look like they are making it fairly well. That’s what I see. But there was one place this morning, where people were just sleeping on the pavement. I think that it is hard to survive like that.
The traffic is really terrible on the streets in the morning.
I will try to change some more money tomorrow. Maybe go to Paharganj for that. I don’t know.
I turned on the TV. Lots of channels are there, but only a few operate. Only one was in English, and one was from the Northeast, Assam.
I was just thinking about how the political scientists got it so wrong about Indian politics. They thought the country would become more and more secular, but now has been taken over by the Hindu Nationalist BJP. Now they claim that that is normalisation of Indian politics and the NED (National Endowment for Democracy) in the USA is supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to control politics. One has to approach these opinions very skeptically.