Monday Morning Musings

Posted on April 9, 2017 under Monday Morning Musings with 3 comments

Humayuns Tomb – New Delhi Built in 1533


I left southern India last week, starting the long road back to Antigonish. I made two stops en route to the airport in Thiruvananthapuram to visit the young girls who are studying to become Sisters. I have been calling them “ noviciates “all this time… in error. As they are in their first year of training, they are called “ aspirants.” We had a great visit and sang “Let it Be” one last time.

So, arrangements had been made by the Sisters for someone to pick me up at one of the convents, to stay with their family overnight and then deliver me to the airport in the morning. A father and son tandem piled my belongings into their car and off we went. “ It will take about half an hour to get to our house,” said the son who spoke very good English. We were making great time when inexplicably, traffic ground to a complete stop. It was dark out and no one seemed to know what was happening. After sitting for about a half an hour, an ambulance went by and we thought for certain that this was the cause of the delay.


When traffic started moving again, we inched towards an intersection in a rural area… hardly where one would expect to find gridlock. Someone on foot walked by us and we found out that there was a major religious festival nearby. And it was just ending. There were thousands of vehicles trying to make it through the intersection… no traffic lights and no traffic police. When lawlessness breaks out, everyone and no one is in charge. Smack dab in the middle of total confusion were about a dozen young Indian men trying to make sense of the madness. They were screaming, yelling and flailing their arms desperately trying to break the logjam. Patience was not in abundance. I now believe that the ambulance may have been delivering victims of a fist fight amongst angry motorists. A thirty minute drive took two hours. I have never witnessed such bedlam.

The flight to Delhi was uneventful… no runway rage! Another friend of a friend picked me up. Berly is a great young guy. It had rained in Delhi the day before which cleared the air and caused the temperature to cool down to 38. There was no evidence of the legendary Delhi pollution. The streets were clean and tree lined and just a few minutes from my room, I saw the Lodi Gardens, an amazing green space covering 90 acres.

He drove me to my accommodations which were arranged by Sister Archana. She had never been there herself but found out about it through friends. It is a residence owned by an NGO called Integrated Social Initiatives. It’s sort of like the Coady. People come to the Institute to take courses and they end up staying in the dorm. Yes. The building reminded me of Mockler Hall in the 60’s. The rooms are very spartan.

Oh yes, the residence was in the middle of a small slum area. This didn’t bother me in the least as I have seen my share of poverty on this trip.

The next morning, I took a city bus tour. I had an image of Delhi that many people have: a large , dirty, polluted city of 19 million. I was astonished to see well organized traffic with people actually obeying the rules but even more remarkable was the “ greenness” of Delhi. Many of the streets are tree lined and there are large swaths of green space and parks. The air was relatively fresh and the sky was clear. No doubt the pollution will reappear after the rainfall cleared the air a few days earlier. It had all the appearances of a modern North American city.

My brother  Don arrived safely from Canada after a 24 hour delay with his flight. Yesterday, we decided to do a bit more sightseeing and did a tour with an  auto rickshaw driver. I won’t bore you with all the details but safe to say we were very impressed with the richness of the history of the place.

Sorry, Delhi if I have offended you in the past. You are now one of my favorite cities in the world. Once you get your pollution problem solved, people will flock to your door. I plan to explore the city when I come back to India next year.

I am posting this earlier than usual as we are on our way to the Taj Mahal today.

Have a great week.


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