Thanks everyone for your good wishes at our margarita celebration. ‘Though I try hard to be positive about these things, I admit that the days between my scan (Wednesday the 16th) and discussing the results with my oncologist on Thursday did tend to lag and my genetic makeup is not as bubbly and positive as Hubby’s. I can’t imagine any cancer survivor in the world that wouldn’t be subject to big doubts. “Why me” works both ways I’ve learned all these years after losing two immediate (brother and sister) and countless other family members to the disease over the years. Now I’m going to try to focus on all those projects I had lined up in mind just before leaving for India last month, my India Adventures posts being one:
One of my best shopping memories of the old days (the 1980s) began with Connaught Circus. So naturally the first thing on our agenda on our first full day, it being one of the only free days on our agenda, was to take ML shopping there. Since our hotel was located a short walking distance from the Delhi Metro Railway and that can quickly transport you to most of the trendiest tourist spots, which includes shopping in the state emporiums at Connaught Circus.
We were mighty impressed with this new railway system that first opened in October 2010 just in time for the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony on the same day, and the plan is to connect all of Delhi by 2021. It has much appreciated state-of-the-art air-conditioned coaches, though you can see by our clothing that winter temperatures are quite moderate in January and a light jacket is perfect. The DMRC operates through an automatic fare collections system and trains are available at three-minute intervals. I liked the ease with which entries and exits are controlled with flap-doors operated by smart-cards and tokens.
We have to look for the Violet line that we learn we reach via the Yellow line (see the colored stripes below?), so even a tag along like me can get where I need to be. I call myself a tag along too lou because I’m always several steps behind with my camera in my hands. I’ve seen much of several countries through camera lens. To remember how to get back to your hotel, you must remember in reverse the colors you came in on.
ML and I soon spotted the women only waiting area for a women only coach. Perhaps because of complaints of men “pinching and touching” from women who are somewhat new to India’s growing number of working women, the new station joined the ranks of other Indian railway systems (7 others, including Mumbai), introducing women only coaches and waiting platforms. Some men are disgruntled, but by all accounts the women are very happy. We weren’t sure whether it was necessary or optional, so ML and I decided to join the other ladies in our women only coach. Besides, there were just too many eyes focused on us out of curiosity in the car behind us where Hubby stayed safely in sight. With standing room only, I grabbed a handle and did a double-take when an attractive young woman offered me her seat. I thanked her profusely of course, but insisted she keep her seat. I forget that I’m “older” woman now, but always cognizant that I have to be a representative for the “older” woman in America! We’re not half as fragile as we might look.
At last we reach our destination, Rajiv Gandhi Chowk at Connaught Circus. Although India’s traffic congestion rivals no other country I’ve ever seen, you’ll notice the traffic is relatively light here. Don’t let that fool you as I know for a fact that it’s a fluke. In fact, should you visit India someday, I’ll wager that traffic will be the one of the first cultural shocks you’ll experience right from the airport. Another will be the sheer number of people, cars, cycles (motor- and scooter) of all kinds.
It didn’t take very long before ML and I had accomplished what we’ve always done best together, shopping and purchasing new Indian-stye duds, kurtas and pashmina shawls, and being subjected to our first onslaught of hand woven oriental rugs from Kashmir. It was time for a tea break in one of the coffee shops that line the circular streets in the circus called Connaught. Until this trip, the only kind of coffee I drank in India was the filtered coffee first popularized by the India coffee houses in India since the 1950’s, OR the south Indian style coffee made by the women in Hubby’s family, with roasted coffee beans filtered through a tiny drip pot and mixed into sweetened milk. Now there are coffee/tea houses nearly everywhere you look. It’s hard to know the best ones since it varies by the opinions of whom you ask. In India, there are as many opinions as there are people to ask, but that’s another story for another time.
In my next post, we’ll talk a little about the helpfulness of the Indian at large on Delhi’s streets, which can often lead to new adventures. I’ll try taking you along, virtually through pictures, on another popular (and cheap) form of travel still available all over India, the auto-ricksha. ML will assure you, it’s an experience not to be missed should you ever find yourself trying to get about in India!