Diversions: A Day in Delhi

I was in New Delhi, India, in mid-August. Looking at the sign below, for a moment I thought I was in another place thousands of miles away.
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Not for too long. The realities around reminded me where I was. Long time no see — 23 years sine my previous trip to India. Much has changed while in some respects much has stayed the same.

Dig It Up

In preparation for the  Commonwealth Games 2010, Delhi was getting a face lift. The whole Connaught Place area was dug up apparently to get new pavements and sidewalks. All dug up, but where were the construction workers (the photo below was taken at around 9:30 am)? I could not help wonder if all would get done in time for the Games. May yes, perhaps temporarily just for the look and the photo ops; all can be dug up again and reworked afterward.

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Knock It Down

The Main Bazaar in Pahar Ganj (Delhi’s backpacker ghetto) was also getting a face lift. The frontal section of most buildings was knocked down to reclaim about two yards on each side of the street. For the moment at least, the Main Bazaar was turned into a messy construction zone.
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It did not look too bad in day time. But I got to the area around midnight. All the shops had been closed; the  street was in total darkness; it was mostly empty of people but full of debris. Quite spooky. After 23 years from my last visit to Delhi, I was not totally sure that was the Main Bazaar. It took 15 minutes and half a km into this dark alley before I saw lights and hotel signs. That section of the Main Bazaar was probably too far (and invisible) from the main street and the railway station to need a face lift.

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“Social order, Indian style” — with the cows in front, everyone waited for his turn. Jumping the line in this case would be an unholy act!

But Keep Moving Forward

Even if nothing else got done, one thing would: getting an education. In India,this is a serious mission where failure is not an option. Move forward by any means available!!!

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No need for school buses…
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Bicycle rickshaws will do.
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I wonder if there is much of an audience for Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall”