At breakfast one day my mother looked up from reading her paper and eating her marmalade on toast and instead of ‘good morning’ simply said “Do you want to go to India?”
She would invite some friends and then we would discuss and organise what we wanted to see and plan it allowing enough time for us all to save up for the trip, I would do as much overtime as I could in whatever job I had at the time, which usually meant working weekends as well.
There would be 6 of us going and after some research everyone had a place that they particularly wanted to get to, my chosen interest was to see Gandhi’s grave as I have always been fascinated by him and also I asked to extend the trip and go on a tailored trip to Nepal to trek in the Himalayas and get some views of Mount Everest. (Nepal is written up as a separate piece.)
Delhi is a wonderfully exotic place to visit, as soon as you step off the plane the heat hits you and the aromas of mixed spices and rain infuse the air, we arrived at midnight but the heat was still intense.
The languages spoken in Delhi are Hindi, English, Punjabi and Urdu, Delhi is in two halves of Old Delhi which is the capital of Islamic India and New Delhi built as the Imperial capital of India by the British. New Delhi is very spacious with huge archway bridges and the straight, wide roads are lined with lamp posts, it is in complete contrast to old Delhi with its twisty back streets and narrow roads.
The six of us were given a guide called Sharma, I did not care for him much finding him to be a little leery and decided I would keep out of his way as much as possible, I preferred to see many of the sights alone anyway, so tended to slip away from everyone and do my own thing as much as I could without offending anyone.
I believe that you see more on your own, rather than being rushed with a group.
I instantly liked old Delhi with the markets and old bazaars, life is obviously very harsh though as I saw the extent of people living on the streets, it was very upsetting to witness.
It seems that life is worth very little as we found out when the driver of bus that we were on, drove like a lunatic and hit a cyclist knocking him down, I looked back at him and saw that he did not get up, running to the driver to ask him to stop the bus, I was stopped by our guide Sharma who explained that to stop would mean a fine of 6 Rupees, the driver is better off driving on.