Flying through Delhi

Flying through Delhi

After my sudden hearing loss in July, for several months, it was questionable if we’d return to India again for the winter. But as Boston became colder and I began to adapt and feel stronger, I decided I wanted to give it a try. Two considerations were fewer destinations and flying when possible. A big concession for Gerard who loves trains, even Indian trains, with their inevitable delays of several hours, less than clean facilities, noisy children and snoring travelers.

Arriving in Delhi a month later than usual had some benefits. For one, we were not met by the thick blanket of fog of January mornings but the air quality was still very poor. We stayed again in Paharganj, the area of budget hotels, but managed to find a new hotel with the welcoming name, ‘Cottage, Yes Please!’

cottage-yes-pleaseIt was indeed relatively clean, the staff engaging and helpful. The noise and bustle of Delhi seemed louder and more distracting than I remembered, exacerbated perhaps by jet lag and a cold rain. Car horns, sirens, vendors chanting their wares, even a wedding procession complete with drums, horns and the obligatory bridegroom mounted on a white horse.

After nine months, we were all so pleased to see each other again. Even two-year-old Tania showed no distress at the arrival of the pale faces. We needed to replace our expired SIM cards, something that might sound simple but not in India. A lengthy procedure of identification checks, callbacks, all of which was expedited by Bhushan. Alone, it would have taken us three to five days. Tania maintained a constant, bilingual chatter. Initially, I could keep up, but as more people arrived and the noise level rose, I was losing it. After the umpteenth time of repeating at a shriek, her big sister Simrita clearly enunciated for me, “She’s saying, Auntie, switch it on! ” The switch turned on a beauty pageant doll dressed in a crinoline skirt of blue flashing lights who twirled to, what I think was, raucous Bollywood music. Over and over again Tania wanted the doll ‘switched on.’

The next day, while on the long metro ride out to the family in Gurgaon I was fascinated watching a young couple, the pretty girl who had the misfortune of a protruding overbite of large uneven teeth. Not an uncommon sight in India where most people cannot afford cosmetic dental work. This girl had the biggest and cumbersome brace contraption I’d ever seen, which drew further attention to her jaw. But her boyfriend, who incidentally was blessed with a perfect mouth of teeth, did not appear to even acknowledge her disfigurement but acted so sweetly and lovingly toward her. What a good feeling it gave me.

metro_5545cb0c-a27f-11e7-84eb-85ab3d3e2a90By the end of the day, the jet lag caught up and we were both exhausted. On the crowded metro back to our hotel, a man offered me his seat. Given the hour-long ride and my state of exhaustion, his kindness took on a greater significance. Relaxing in comfort, I immediately nodded off, sliding on to my neighbor’s shoulder. He didn’t react as Gerard nudged me awake with his foot, giving me a pained look. It got me thinking about how many times on public transportation that in the jostling crowd, the falling into each other’s lap is routine. The crush of humanity makes rubbing shoulders unavoidable and acceptable. On other hand, if a man tries to take advantage of the situation as an opportunity to grope, he is likely to feel the swift, sharp stab of a hatpin. The young Indian women of today are quick to rebut sexual advances, refusing to become victims. With its unfortunate tradition of abuse, India is beginning to fight back.

The following morning we trekked back to the airport for our flight to Goa, a mere two hours compared with a thirty-hour train ride. But of course, that does not reflect the time taken navigating airport check-in, though nowhere near the thoroughness of TSA, then the long anxious wait for our bags at the other end. Gerard is quick to remark that train stations are still a true Indian experience, while Delhi airport is the same as any other large international hub. But for me, it’s a relief to know that by the end of the day I will be in our guesthouse nestled at the edge of the jungle with the birds singing conducive to a good night’s sleep.

30 thoughts on “Flying through Delhi

  1. Hi Roberta,

    Great to get your first post and read of your safe arrival to India and the start of your adventures there! Trains do have a certain romance but how nice to avoid over a day of travel to get to Goa in just a couple hours. I look forward to reading further reports. It makes me feel I am along for the ride without the jet-lag etc. Here we are expecting half a foot of snow today!

    Enjoy and best wishes!

    Debbie

    Sent from my iPhone

    Like

  2. I got a bit busy. I looked up and you were gone. Stay healthy, stay safe, Stay in touch!!!

    Arthur B. Calvin 14629 s.w. 104th st. ste. 245 Miami, Florida 33186

    Like

  3. Awwww, Roberta, it’s so great to read this first entry of your winter travels. Happy to hear that it worked out for you to take on the challenge and go to your ‘happy place’. I just love your writing and can’t wait for entry #2. Enjoy Goa and it’s beautiful beaches and food and friendly people. love, Didi

    Like

  4. So good to hear from you, Roberta. Happy to hear about the women having hat pins! Like a rose’s thorns. That’ll teach ‘me, right?
    Also loved the part about you falling asleep on the strangers shoulder. The opposite side of humanity.

    We. Miss you here in Boston. London and Reykjavík were great fun. 🌬❄️⛄️🍆

    Like

  5. Hi Roberta!

    I was thinking about you and your husband’s travels to India and wondered if you were there, now. Then I received this email travel log. I’m looking forward to reading it sometime today. Your writing is so poignant in its descriptions of your travels and encounters.

    Be safe and enjoy these adventures as I know you do.

    Nadine (Your pal from the Y)

    Like

  6. Hi Bobby, im smiling as i read of your arrival in India and Delhi, feeling all those sensations you describe
    . Im sure when you read this you will be nestled in by the sea and loving the warmth and quiet; how sweet it would be to teleport and have tea and take long walks along the shore. much love to you! we miss you both here, and will travel with you thru your journal.
    diane

    Like

  7. Welcome back… Im still in auroville.. Going to become a aurovilleian..all well …hugs Peter

    On Tue, Feb 12, 2019, 6:18 PM A Small Case Across India wrote:

    > Roberta Wiggins posted: “Flying through Delhi After my sudden hearing loss > in July, for several months, it was questionable if we’d return to India > again for the winter. But as Boston became colder and I began to adapt and > feel stronger, I decided I wanted to give it a try. Two ” >

    Like

  8. Always a pleasure to read your thoughts and experiences wherever you travel..I am very happy that you and the mister have found your way to destination one with less travail and less travel, though I can appreciate the notion of train travel as being more authentic in its grittiness. Will look forward to your experiences as you have time to share them and am very glad that your are coping well with your adjusted sensory experience. sending love from Cambridge…..as a newly minted 70 y.o.

    Like

  9. Snow in Boston and southcoast today. And you have escaped for another warm (in temp and friendship) adventure. Smiling as I catch up. Thank you for posting and keeping us warm.

    Like

  10. Thanks for the tip on the hotel. The one I stayed at last May was just ok and had a rat ( or very large mouse) in the room. I’m going with very large mouse. I also flew for the first time in India from Delhi to Goa because, as much as I love Indian trains, I only had a month this trip and everything was heavily booked. Flying was a breeze and the local, cheap bus from the airport to Panaji was great. I hit Panaji, Manali, Rishikesh, McLeod Gange, Shimla, Mandi, and a few other places last trip. I’m following you two, green with envy. Take Care, Stay Well, Cindy

    Like

  11. Wow. I didn’t know you were going to make the trip. Congratulations and best wishes for a wonderful stay. You are both true adventurers and its great to read your posts again.
    I have 3 weeks left in New Zealand and lamenting my departure as it grows nearer.
    God bless.

    Like

  12. How wonderful that you were able to return. I am so envious right now. Boston is cold and Brisbane is just soooooo hot. Happy travels.

    Like

  13. Ahhhh the songs of birds says it all for me. I’m so glad you flew to Goa!!! Enjoy your time there. I hope you reconnect with friends from previous years 💗🌟👑✌🏽😘👌🏼

    Like

  14. Dears… happy to read that you’ve arrived in blessedly warm (in so many ways) India. Your accounts make armchair travel whether by air or train so enjoyable and evoke many memories… the birds, the horns… sipping my chai with you in spirit.

    Like

  15. hi Roberta
    Great to read your continuing story. We are now in Kerala moving north to Galgibagh. Maybe we will meet where are you going to be?
    Martyn Lilach Noam and Ohad

    Like

  16. wonderful to read about India travels. so thankful to be on your list.
    armchair traveling great fun for now. Enjoy Goa and looking for next installment. Safeguard the laptop and cameras. enjoy food weather. Boston unbearable cold it seems. Rain lots here, Love, Carol

    Like

    • Great to hear from you. We’re about to post another entry from the beach. Took a while to recover from Delhi but now enjoying peace and quiet here Almost tales you ypu before we left but ran out of time. Susan p called and I thought she was you! Hello Ann I said. Hope you’re staying well and warm. Love b

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

      Like

  17. Hi Bobbi. Love reading your posts. Wish I was there instead of in sweltering Brisbane. Barb and I hope to see you and Gerard next year. All going to plan this year, we’ll be selling our house, putting packs on our backs again (if we’ve got the strength to lift them) and hitting the road for a year or two. Jim

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s