India Trip Blog Four: Amazing Commerce in Old Delhi

India Trip: Blog 4: January 8, 2020. Amazing Commerce in Old Delhi

6:00 Evening. It gets dark fast. We are not on daylight savings time here.

It was a pretty good day, except that the roll of film in the Minolta camera slipped. But no big loss. I took it out and shot a roll of Kodak 200 color film in there.

I even found a guy in old Delhi selling Kodak Film but mostly Samsun Cameras. I asked him about 35 mm film, and he had it. So those who say that film is not available in India are wrong. It was quite okay today. I shot two rolls of film, one roll of color in the Minolta and one black and white in the Leica. It was a good day for pushing black and white film to ISO 1600.

I am not very picky about rickshaw prices since I am not going to be here very long. I didn’t find any place to change money today. But can do it tomorrow at the airport.

I left the hotel in late morning. I first went to that Madras Coffee House and had coffee. A guy was there taking down the Christmas and New Year decorations. I have about 4500 Rupees left now, a little more than sixty dollars. I avoid the touts that hang around the hotel. It is easy to get a sticky person that wants to follow one around and keep bugging you to take you somewhere that you have no desire to go to. I understand their desire to make some money, but I really am not responsible for their income. Whether increasing it or decreasing it. I know what I want to do. Almost everyone asks what hotel you are staying in. Why? They may come around or send a friend to hang around. So I never tell them what hotel I am staying in. One better not.

I know that I pay them more than normal to take me somewhere all across old Delhi. What is five or six dollars to me? I don’t really care at all. So I just let them make a little extra money. That’s okay with me.

So I just went out on the street and got a rickshaw. The guy said rupees five hundred. I knew that it was too much. I said four hundred. That is also too much, but I don’t care. The traffic is horrendous and it was raining lightly too. Earlier it had been raining quite heavily. I ended up giving the rickshaw wallah five hundred anyway.

I wanted him to leave me at the old Delhi Station, but where he left me, I could not get across that big road with all the traffic. There was an underpass, but I gave it up. It was an area that I had not seen before so I just shot some black and white film there.

I went into a quite small lane. There were rows and rows of electronic shops. An amazing area with amazing commerce there. When I finished that black and white film, I needed to sit down. I found a place that had tea under a roof. Next to it, the guy had chhola batora and puris. So I sat down there.

I took out my Minolta. I started taking pictures with that, I thought, but actually, the film had slipped off the take up spool. I finally wound it back, but the end of the roll went into the film spool. I need to recover it in the dark to reload it.

I switched back to the Leica. Then I came to a place where they were selling all these bright colored lights. I thought that I can’t miss this, but needed color film. So I got my old Minolta and loaded a roll of Kodak 200 color film in it. I finished that roll, but not right there.

I did talk to a few guys along the way and had tea with them. They took my picture with them with a cell phone. Everybody has a camera in their phone now, which is good. I also took their picture, but unfortunately, the film was not advancing.

Well, people pretty much know what is going on, if one spells it out for them and cut through the bullshit. Most of them think that America is great, but I tell them that most people are getting poorer. It is a good thing that a lot of people here know English.

By that time, it was starting to get darker. It was pretty dark all day, but there were lights in the market. I walked up through part of Chandni Chowk and got a rickshaw.

Before this, one of the two guys who talked to me kept bugging me to take me to the spice market or to a masjid (mosque). I told him that I was not interested.

The other side of the street that goes up toward the Jama Masjid was so crowded. I knew that I had to walk up through there to get a rickshaw. But this bug stuck to me and kept bugging me. Man! They can really be sticky. I was taking a picture now and then on the street. Finally I just had to tell him: “Please, I am not interested.” Man! I finished that roll of color film and walked up the street looking for a rickshaw.

I found one, but this one has two facing seats. I didn’t know it at the time, but this kind cannot go into Connaught Circus. So I had to shift to a different kind of auto rickshaw. The traffic was horrible and surely dangerous. By this time it was dark. I took a video on the way with my cell phone. For some reason, the guy did not want me to do it. Probably because he was not supposed to be going that close to Connaught Circus. He stopped the rickshaw and asked me to stop taking the video. It didn’t matter, as I had taken all I wanted to.

I recognized the road and the old monument, a red stone gate, that I had photographed last year coming from the Red Fort. At the road stops, there are beggars and sellers. He seemed to be telling me to hold onto my bag tight. I had it right in front of me with both my cameras in it. It could be dangerous, I know. I didn’t see any other tourists around there. I guess they would not be likely to be where I was, anyway.

Finally, we got to a place on the street where other rickshaws were parked. He had to put me in a different rickshaw. I got it quickly why. He could not take me all the way in that rickshaw. So I had to pay again. A young Sikh guy took me. But he had to ask several times about P-Block. They do not know the names of the blocks of Connaught Circus. I always tell them, next to Regal Building. Most of them know Regal building.

Finally I recognized the Regal Building. It still says “Regal Building.” I saw it today, but the rickshaw wallah did not know it. So I had him leave me at the corner and paid him. He was happy. That’s all.

I ate something twice, when I needed to change my film. That’s about the only way. Otherwise, there is no place to sit down. The first time was rupees 40 and the second time again rupees 40. About 60 cents. It was so cheap and actually seemingly good. The second time, it was two potato pakoras and they were actually very good. I hope that they agree with my digestion.

Anyway, I was glad to be back to the Madras Coffee House. Again, I had a coffee and then to the hotel.

It takes quite a lot to write all that up, but anyway, a good day.

Why is the US going into this war with Iran? It is truly madness. Just madness. What a mad, mad, country. People here know that it is mad!

What can one do? Two days are gone already of this trip. But I have shot two and a half rolls of film. I don’t know what I will get tomorrow. Maybe it is going to rain again, but there is no wind like in Istanbul. I will be off to Lucknow.

India Trip: Blog 3. Some News From Delhi

 

India Trip: Blog 3 (January 7, 2020) Some News From Delhi

9:20 Evening. I am catching up on some news. I read some of the Times of India. It is pretty clear that this attack on students and professors at JNU was carried out against secular and leftist students on Sunday evening (January 5, 2020). It reminds me of the events in Ayodhya in 1992. There, the police just stood by and let the demolition of the mosque happen. The same thing seems to have happened here for at least three hours while the masked goons were attacking students and professors on the JNU campus.

I was there at JNU in 1983 and again in 1989. I stayed in one of the hostels in 1983. I do not quite remember how I made that arrangement. I know that there was a water problem and the students only got water for a bath part of the day. It was in the hottest part of the summer.

Now there is a lot of news about what is happening there. A whole new generation is there now. It is sort of like the rise of the Nazi movement in Germany and like what is happening in the USA these days.

Of course the ABVP (right-wing student’s group) is attacking and accusing the left. This is also a classic maneuver, like the Reichstag fire in the 1930s in Germany.

Now there is going to be elections in Delhi next month. The Delhi population is over 20 million now. It is more than the population of 140 countries. It is one of the two biggest populaition agglomarations in the world. These are Tokyo and Delhi. Istanbul is also very big.

I can see that the BJP-RSS-ABVP students got a lot of footage on Indian TV. Why not? They are really in power in the country.

The ABVP is opposed to the NSUI and other organizations. (National Students Union of India?)

Now in Delhi, the Aam Adam Party, the common man’s party, has been in rule since about 2012, I believe. Of course, the BJP wants to rule the city. It is quite like Istanbul. Almost exactly, with the Ak Party (Justice and Development Party in Turkey) trying to get control of Istanbul. And also the old Congress Party is there, but they seem quite weak in Delhi. This Chief Minister in Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, took over from the old politician, a woman, Sheila Dikshit. He is head of the Aam Adam Party. In 2015, he won 67 out of the 70 assembly seats in Delhi. Sounds a lot like Istanbul. Delhi has three Rajya Sabha seats (upper house of the Indian Parliament) and seven Lok Sabha (lower house of the Indian Parliament) seats. The party expanded to Punjab. But the votes in Delhi declined recently. Kejriwal tried to improve education and health with bigger budgets, increasing from Rupees 6600 crores to 15,600 crores and Rupees 3500 crores to Rupees 7500 crores. (A crore is ten million.) There are free water and electricity schemes and 1.4 lakh CCTV cameras in Delhi. (A lakh is 100,000.) They piped water to 93 percent of the houses. They increased infrastructure development in unauthorized colonies. (Similar to gecekondus in Turkey) They say there are more than two million persons living in such places in Delhi. And the BJP is campaigning in the election without naming a chief minister candidate. They are riding on Narendra Modi’s, (the Prime Minister of India) popularity. This also sounds a lot like Turkey.

Well, the more things change, the more they stay the same, it seems. It does not take too long to catch up on the politics of a country even though one has been away from it for quite a long time.

I had the wet suitcase problem. A few of my papers got wet in my suitcase from the rain in Istanbul. I should have kept them in my back pack.

January 8. Wednesday. 10:20 Morning. I woke up around 8:45 local time. So I had a good sleep. But it was almost two in the morning before I slept. After taking that nap in the afternoon, it was hard to get back to normal. I didn’t wake up till morning.

The room feels quite cold, but I was alright in the night. I freshened up without a shower and went down for breakfast. It is the same thing. Sort of crude puris and potato curry, but they do have toast and jam and the waiters will make one an omelet if one wants. I did not bother with that this morning.

It was raining heavily outside. I think some of the storm has come here from Turkey. The news was on in Hindi, of course. Then the signal was lost in the heavy rain. The tea is okay and the juice too, but it is made up, not real juice. They also have some fruit, papaya and pineapple and another fruit that I did not recognize. I would like bananas.

I will go out when the weather gets a little better. My room does not have windows, in Hotel Alka, so I cannot check the weather from the room. I saw some of the news. It appears that the state is going to hang four guys in for rape on January 22, according to the Times of India. They are in a jail in Delhi. It may be postponed.

The hotel culture seems the same as I remember from years ago, and it still strikes me. How the waiters, two of them, stand around watching the TV and not taking care of the tables. There was just me there for breakfast and a sadougie (Sikh) sitting close to me. So there was really nothing for them to be doing. I got two cups of tea and the guy just brought my toast from the toaster. That’s all.

I’ll take it a little easy this morning. Maybe the weather will get better. I’ll get out and take some pictures. It could be nice, even if there is no sun. Maybe better in the afternoon. But maybe I need a fast lens, and not the zoom lens on the Minolta.

Here is one thing about the Nirbhaya Rape case that is in the papers. Four men are sentenced to hang on the 22nd of January. (They still had not been executed on 2 February, 2002) Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta, Akshay Thakur. They had been sentenced to death six years before by another court. It is a rape and murder case. It is in Delhi’s Patiala House Courts. The judge was Satish Kumar Arora. The mother of Nirbhaya had filed the case through her advocate Jatindra Kumar Jha and Seema Kushwaha.

Asha Devi is the mother. The report says that the court ignored the pleas of the rapists. Well, I wonder if they are all guilty. I don’t know. In December 2018, the parents had brought another case to have them executed.

The women are crying to have them hanged speedily. The National Commission for Women (NCW) chief Swati Maliwal says that the case took seven years. She wants it to be done in six months. “Justice will be done,” she says.

Is it really justice?

Ranjana Kumari, the director of the Centre for Social Research says “Fast Track Justice is still to become real.” She says that the crimes can be prevented by ensuring “fast track” justice. I doubt that. They will be launching campaigns in districts with state commissions.

The National Federation for Indian Women, general secretary, Annie Raja, talked about the need for reforms in the law. And the need to focus on “witness protection.” They need more forensic laboratories, police and judicial reforms, and a review of implementation of existing legislation.

Enanshi Ganguly Haq, at the Centre for Child Rights, said there was a need to focus on “preventing violence.” They are counseling survivors of sexual violence, rape and so on.

The Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal also said that the hanging needs to be done in six months. But “this has given people some relief.” I am sorry, but seeing them hanged does not really give me any relief. “Then, only, a deterrence will be created.” I wonder why six months? Where did that number come from? “We have to make Delhi a safe city where no such incidents take place,” he said.

But it is a tautology. At a town hall: “If police are more alert, together with the citizens, we can make a safer society.” It just says that if society is safe, then it is safe. Exactly.

The father of one if the convicted. Vinay Sharma. İs Hari Ram. The father said “He has not done anything.” Champa is his mother.

Now, I will check on the weather.

India Trip Blog 2, January 7, 2020. Settling into Connaught Circus

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.

India Trip Blog 1: Izmir, Turkey to Delhi, India

 

Blog 1: Izmir, Turkey to Delhi, India

Eddie James Girdner

6 January 2020. Istanbul.

6: 10 Evening. I just got to Istanbul not long ago, flying from Izmir. Coming to the new airport, it was actually slower that at the old airport. It was a very windy day and a windy, rough landing. It took a very long time to get from the runway to the gate. Seems like twenty minutes or so.

Somehow I chose the most stormy day in the winter to fly.

One thing I noticed about Turkish Airlines. Now the seats are much closer together than before. Unfortunately they have followed the other airlines doing that. Probably forced to by the economics. If one wants any kind of leg room, one must go first class these days.

I know that I chose my seat when I bought the ticket, but they stuck me in the back of the plane, only three or four seats from the back. I have to write it down after this. I was the last one out of the plane and I mentioned it to them that the seating is more cramped now.

The new airport is beautiful, but I am afraid that I will have to walk a long way to the gate. They posted that the gate number would be put up at 6:50, so I am waiting for that.

Also, this area does not have many seats. But I have an idea why. There are several cafes around. Anyway, I just want to enjoy it. I hope that I can.

I put a roll of Fuji color film in my old Minolta camera and shot a few pictures. Seems like no one cares. Why should they?

The security asked what was in my bag. Obviously, people are not carrying film cameras and film these days.

11:35 Evening. We got delayed in Istanbul because of the high winds. The plane was shaking quite wildly just sitting on the runway. Finally, we were off just before eleven. I was sitting using my cell phone with my seat belt off, when the plane suddenly lurched forward to take off. I had to quickly get the seat belt on and turn off the phone. Even though it was so windy, surprisingly, it did not feel very rough taking off. We are just past Kostamanu now at 11:38.

7 January 10:15 Morning, Delhi Time. Alka Classic Hotel, Delhi.

Well, I made it and I just got the clerk downstairs to make my bus reservations from Lucknow to Allahabad. I changed 300 dollars at the airport, but it probably was not enough, since I paid for two nights in the room in cash. That is 10,350 Rupees for the room. I also paid Rupees 2200 for the bus. So I have something like Rupees 6000 left now. The airport was paying Rupees 67 to a dollar in all places. The official rate is Rupees 71 and a half.

At the airport back in Istanbul, it took a long time to load the plane. It was almost full. Maybe just a seat or two empty, but not near me. I could not get that lucky. They waited and waited. More people kept drifting into the plane, coming late. I looked on the airport map. We were at gate 8 which is at the very end of one of the legs of the airport and completely opposite from where I came in on the domestic side. So I got a long tour.

They waited till much later, past 10:30, almost eleven, before the plane took off. They were waiting for the high winds to settle down. So I called Selma. All of a sudden, when I was talking, the plane suddenly accelerated to take off. I hardly had time to get my seat belt fastioned and turn off the phone. It was not very rough taking off. There were a few bumps later toward the east of Turkey, but that’s all.

I actually enjoy some turbulence in the plane. It reminds me of riding a ship, a tin can destroyer in the navy.

After some time, it was smoother and they served food. Not great. Chicken and rice if you wanted it, or vegetarian, otherwise. I had a white wine. It is only 127 cc. So not even a good wine glass full. I thought they would come around again, but that didn’t happen very soon.

So I walked up to the galley and asked for a glass of wine. Mostly it was red wine that was left. Another very small bottle. I had just sort of inhaled it when they did bring drinks around again. I hid the bottle, feeling guilty, and asked for another one. That way, I ended up getting three bottles. It just sort of put me down, because, I went to sleep right away.

I put the pillow and the blanket on the seat, as it was so hard, and sat on them. Even then, it was quite hard!

When I woke up, we were quite close to Delhi, somewhere over Punjab on the Indian side. We came down and landed. There was a long line for e-visas this time, but I came through quite good. Also my bag came. It was a little wet, as it had been raining in Istanbul. Probably it got wet there.

After I changed 300 dollars, I looked for the prepaid taxi booths. They had disappeared from inside the airport, it seems. Not where they were last year.

I had to get a taxi and be off to the hotel. (End of Blog 1)

American Sahib

American Sahib by Eddie James Girdner (2016) 416 pp.

Available from Amazon.com.

This novel is largely autobiographical but contains a good deal of fiction. It is mostly about life in a Punjabi village in the late 1960s.

I wrote this book in 2015 and then put it aside for several years after publishing it. It was based upon my two years in Punjab, India (1968-1970).

I had forgotten somewhat how the narrative unfolds. So I read it again this summer to see what I would think of it.

If someone is looking for a patriotic book that only praises America, the Peace Corps, the US Government, then this is not the book. It pokes a lot of fun and criticism at the USA. And it does not spare India either. So one should read it with an open mind. If one does not have something to say, then why bother to write the book?

The book has not been sanitized by a corporatist publishing company to make it safe for a neoliberal global agenda.

The book has some love affairs. Not unusual. This often happens in life itself, so it should not be surprising to discover it between the pages of a novel. One might be surprised at how many people object to such things. So many Americans seem to have a puritanical bent of mind. Often hypocritically, however. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

Reading the book after three years, I was rather surprised. I hoped that I could look at it somewhat more objectively. Quite frankly, I was surprised at how good it was. I just don’t know of very many books that describe life in Punjab as well as this one does. Prakash Tandon, of course, Punjabi Century and Beyond Punjab are great books. But a somewhat different genre.

I found the book to be such a revealing description of life in a remote village in Punjab and in the towns in those days. Now that was fifty years ago. Half a century of water under the bridge. The book is quite funny in many places. The book is not only literature, but a political and economic analysis of a developing country without all the academic jargon. British colonialism, Indian politics, and the USA in the global system. America as an imperialist hegemon. A good deal of political economy spills out of the pages. And what the locals think of America and Indian politics might be interesting.

The love scenes spice up the book somewhat, breaking the monotony of village life. The dichotomy between the city and the countryside is stark. Escape is necessary to keep one’s relative sanity.

The perspective of the left in India, the relevant communist analysis of society emerges. Comrades are in the street, some actual members of the Communist Party of India. The author finds their analysis honest and convincing. They are often hauled off to jail. Actually, I think the members of the US State Department could benefit by reading this book. They could certainly learn something. This would surely be their ruination, as a part of that outfit. Unfortunately.

The author cannot resist mentioning the stupid things one hears on VOA, the Voice of America. Actually, the voice of Dick Nixon in the late 1960s. One picked it up on shortwave radio, the twenty-five meter band in India. Dick, the US President, hates the Peace Corps and sets out to kill it. Or as much of it as he can. He almost did. The US Presidick, for the author.

It always amused me how US congressmen in Washington were afraid to send young Americans abroad, especially to developing countries. What were they so afraid of? Why, simply that they might learn something and bring their ideas back to America. The old mushroom syndrome once again. Keep the people in the dark and pile horse shit on them. That’s the way one grows mushrooms. Americans are mushrooms. No shit. But why insult mushrooms? They are useful.

I will not even mention Tiny Hands Trump. Things can always get worse.

There is a good deal of satire in the book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it again.

It came to my mind that it would be incredibly instructive for students in a South Asian studies program in an American university to read. It is very informative in a simply way. But I don’t think that most American professors would have the courage to use it in their classes. The book steps on too many toes and is too unorthodox. Political correctness has ruined so much freedom in academia, it seems. The very place that it should not be ruined.

I am not saying that this is a great novel, as a novel. I do not claim to have any expertise to evaluate the book as a novel. But it is an interesting story. I think that it is a fun book. It is full of ideas. I just had some things that I wanted to say, and so I said them in the form of a novel. I would like to think that I have learned something living outside the USA for a third of a century. And all in so-called developing countries.

I guess that young Indians, especially Punjabis, might enjoy reading it. That is, if they knew about it. So many know English. The book is written in very simple language. It is also good just for entertainment. That is, if one has a critical and intellectual bent of mind.

It is not a bad book to have on one’s book shelf.

July 21, 2019. Akarca, Seferihisar, Turkey

Images of Punjab in the 1960s

Last Day in Delhi (India Blog 29)

More Photography in Delhi (India Blog 29)

15 December, Saturday. 7:00 morning. Oh Man! Good sleep last night. I needed that. I was wise to stay one extra day here in Delhi. Otherwise, I would not have caught up on my sleep before the trip to Turkey.

I had some dreams, but do not remember any of them. That music stopped around eleven o’clock and it was okay after that. I thought it might go on later. One does not have the street noise here that one has in Kolkata. People just shout loudly on the street there.

I am going to try the area around the Jama Masjid this morning. First the mosque and then I will explore the area. I will use up all of the film that I have left.

So it will be back to Old Delhi today. I guess that I just cannot get enough of it. Actually, I think seeing Calcutta made me appreciate Delhi more.

5:00 Afternoon. That’s it. I made a day of it and I don’t think that I am going out again. I am on my last roll of film, the old expired colour film. I shot maybe half of that roll. I finished the black and white film in the Leica and two and a half rolls of colour in the Minolta. Altogether, I shot twenty-two and a half rolls. I am tired after going around all day.

Delhi is easier than Kolkata. Far less brutalizing, for sure.

In the morning, I took a rickshaw to Jama Masjid. I made pictures and walked from there. There are plenty of things to photograph besides the mosque.

A lot of the shops around the mosque are selling auto parts and even whole engines.

Finally, I went down into the bazaar which is actually part of Chandni Chowk. Saw several foreigners. Several couples were walking there. But most were travelling around in rickshaws. I suppose that it would be fascinating for them, but for good pictures, one really needs to be on their feet.

Back in those old ally ways, there are many old houses that were once upscale. Some have beautiful old doors. But now they are neglected and crumbling, like in the Kadife Kale area in Izmir, Turkey.

I shot off the film pretty quickly and finished the two and a half rolls of colour film. Then I finished the rest of the black and white film in the Leica.

Some rickshaw wallas are a little persistent, but nothing like that outfit in Calcutta.

Some of the small back lanes are treacherous now due to all the people dashing through there on motor scooters. One has to be constantly on alert and keep ducking into recesses, or getting up flat against a wall in order to avoid them.

Well, I had good energy, plenty of energy today. So that was good.

After I finished the film, around one o’clock, I decided to get back to the Connaught Circus area and have a beer.

I knew that I would lose the sun pretty quickly as the days were so short. If I hurried, I could get to India Gate and use that last roll of old colour film.

First, I had to have some lunch at Pind Baluch. I took a taxi to Regal Building and got into the restaurant. Ordered a Kingfisher beer. I ordered channa (chick peas). It was delicious, after the exercise in the morning. They give pretty big portions.

After the lunch, I walked back to the hotel and put the last old roll of film in the Minolta. I got a rickshaw to India Gate.

When I got there, I didn’t quite remember the orientation of the buildings and monuments. The India Gate is at the east end of that street, Raj Path. Rashtrapati Bhavan and Parliament is to the west. Parliament is just a little to the north of Raj Path.

I walked to the east toward India Gate as the sun was sinking fast. But it was still high enough for good pictures. I was surprised to see such a big crowd there. I do not remember seeing those crowds there in the past. Also they did not have the vendors all up and down the street, of sweets and various things to eat. But now there are many of them. The place is full of people wandering there.

After taking pictures of India Gate and the crowds, I walked back to the west. It is something like three kilometers to the west end where the President’s house and Parliament is.

A rickshaw guy wanted to take me there. I took it because the sun was going down rapidly and there was not time to walk. One cannot go all the way as there is a police barrier. But one could take pictures of the buildings from a distance.

Then the guy took me closer to Parliament building. It is closed off, but one can take pictures from a distance, near a fountain. It is good enough, unless one could actually go inside. I am sure that they do not allow that any more after the attack on parliament. It was in 2002, as I recall. I went to a conference in Bhopal just after that. It was a big blow to the security.

Some guys came along from Gurgoan, near Delhi. They started making their pictures with cell phones in front of the Parliament building. Then they asked me to join in the photo. Why, I have no idea.

Finally, I asked the rickshaw wallah to take me back to Regal Building. It was clearly time to hang it up for the day. The sun was sinking quite rapidly.

It was the last full day of the trip to India. And I enjoyed being back in Delhi again.

This morning at the hotel desk, I asked the clerk to please have them not tuck all the edges of the blankets under the mattress on the bed. One has to pull it all out in order to sleep. Anyway, I told them that one would have to be dead to lay flat there on the bed like that.

I never understood why all hotels do that shit.

Apparently, they did not get my message, because the blankets all got tucked in the same way again. The room cleaners must have standing orders to do it the same way every time.

8:30 evening. I have sorted my things out for the trip tomorrow. It has been a pretty good trip so far. Tomorrow should be the easy part. I will be glad to be going back on Turkish airlines.

Two weeks is long enough for a trip for photography where one is out in the streets every day. One probably gets a little tired, more than one realizes. But I am thankful that I had perfect health all the way through. I watched my food quite carefully to avoid problems with Delhi Belly.