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    All These Colors Tour: India Part 44

    Saturday, October 27, 2012
    Delhi, India

    A man wheels a mobile Hindu shrine around the Main Bazaar area of Paharganj, Delhi, India.

    Making my way outside just as dusk arrived, I walked a half mile down to Connaught Place, which is considered the heart of New Delhi, the capital of India. Arranged in vast concentric circles, its three main streets are chock-full of stores, shops, restaurants, hotels and office space, plus a dot of greenery called Central Park in the chewy center. Much of Connaught Place looks like your average outdoor mall in the United States, boasting some familiar Western brand names as well as local ones, except–as usual in India–most things are coated in dust, accompanied by occasionally rough sidewalks and harrowing street crossings.

    A nighttime overview of the Main Bazaar area of Paharganj, Delhi, India.

    I stopped by the United Coffee House for dinner, but after scouring the menu, decided it was way too expensive. So, I kept on circling around until I came across a subway stop, where I figured I’d take the train back to Paharganj to give my feet a break and grab something to eat. I don’t really like malls much anyway. Descending into the bowels of the city, I was completely bowled over by the seething mass of humanity. I’ve seen some crowded subway platforms and trains in my life, but nothing like this. As I stood in line waiting to buy a token, a lady swooped in from the side and tried to elbow her way in front of me. I just stepped forward until I almost touched two other ladies in front of me, who were talking to the clerk for quite a while–maybe 30 seconds to a minute.

    The stall where I bought my Kali t-shirt in the Main Bazaar area of Paharganj, Delhi, India.

    Finally, as they were finishing up, the lady on my left shoved her arm in front of them and down into the window. When I asked her why she couldn’t just wait in line, she told me to shut up as she stepped past me with her token. That ticked me off, so I called her a pretty raw name as she walked away. I’m not even sure why I said anything to begin with, because people cut in line all the time in India, and I usually just ignore it, because I know it’s just part of their culture. Every day of their lives, Indians have to battle to cross the street, climb onto a bus, train or subway, enter a store, buy a ticket or token, etc. Their view is that if they don’t forge ahead at every opportunity, they will be left behind. Therefore, some of them would never even imagine that line cutting could be considered rude.

    Stars shine brightly in the Main Bazaar area of Paharganj, Delhi, India.

    With token in hand, I walked around the subway station completely dazed by all of the turbulence and confused about which platform to proceed to. Finally, after consulting a subway map, I figured it out and found my way onto a beyond-sardine-packed train. On a New York subway at rush hour, your bodies might touch, but in New Delhi, you literally get squished together really hard. Back over in the Main Bazaar of Paharganj, I saw a man pushing around a funny little Hindu shrine on wheels. I donated some coins, then shot a quick clip of it as he occasionally clanked a metal plate with a hammer. I also passed by a stall that sold t-shirts festooned with Hindu gods. I asked if they had Kali, and sure enough, they did. I bought one, even though all they had was tie-dye, and I definitely don’t wear hippie clothes. Somehow, I get the feeling I’ll see a much better-looking solid color Kali shirt in another shop in the days to come.

    Roll over photos for captions.
    Words and photos ©2012 Arcane Candy.

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