Daily life, Delhi
Indians love their motorbikes... I think is more of them than cars.
In the morning whole family (4 ppl) will straddle motorbike to take them to their daly work or school.
In the chaos which is Delhi traffic,the motorbike can navigate quite sucessfuly, so is widely used.
These school children were in the Qutb Minar complex in southern Delhi. Indian school children are the best behaved children I've ever come across. There are so orderly and quiet and do exactly what they're told by their teachers. If this was in my own country then they would be running amock and being loud and obnoctious. But here they are inquizative, smile and wave at you so you have to do the same back to them and say hello as well out of politeness. They also like their picture taken as well!
Opened in 1931 and named after the Duke of Connaught, Connaught Place, (which has now, like most things in India, been renamed Rajiv Chowk but is locally known simply as CP), is a series of circular roads around a central park. It was designed by Robert Tor Russell and features archways and colonnades but is showing its age and needs a good coat of white paint. The central park area was closed when I first visited Delhi in November 2006 but was open with people stretched out on the grass when I came back in March 2007. I believe it was redesigned and re-opened in December and is closed on Mondays. It's a popular place to watch middle class Delhites.
Delhi has a recorded population of around 15.3 million people. The city is the 6th most populous metropolis in the world and India’s 6th largest. That is easy to believe even on a normal day in Delhi.
Cows are usual sight in big cities as they are in the rural areas and in India they are revered amongst the Hindus as being sacred. They are also protected by law. It has been report recently that there are some 40,000 cows through to be wandering around the streets of Delhi. Most have been left to roam by corrupt dairy farmers. These cows have become such a traffic hazard that rewards have been offered to try and remove them from the roads.
Away from the hustle and congestion of the main streets, you will often find the little street barber and his one chair business. Low maintenance, with just a small and often cracked mirror for inspection, they will conduct their business while discussing the days affairs with regular clientele.
The two words `VIP movement' will usually mean roads blocked off, and diversions made for traffic movement, as a minister or some such person is going past on that route. The Vip`s are always accompanied with the men in black- the `black cat commandos'. This has become a common sight over the years and thru security drills.
That being said, of late, there has been some restraint on this count by the authorities...
I was shooting a feature on these men in black, at their base a short distance out of the city. Drawn from the best men in the armed forces, these commandos are trained for anti- terrorist measures, and anti hijack operations, besides the more mundane business of protecting the politicians...
For Japanese people this is unthinkable, so here I have a picture for their benefit... in India if you stay at a nice hotel or go to a nice restaurant you will invariably have a choice of either using water and your hand or toilet paper. I personally miss the tap in Japanese toilets. Another thing about bathrooms is the frequent absence of baths, or if there is one it's very shallow and long. (in Japan, all bathrooms have a bath - always deep and short) IN my case - no bathroom, the public baths! :P Hence my love of them when I travel... ??
Cows are sacred here in India, so believers are not allowed to bother them, not even to touch them I guess.
You could find many white cows like these in the middle of the streets in Old Delhi, cars had to move around them or just take a different way if they wanted to pass...
People here are friendly (and very handsome). Sometimes you get some 'sticky' lads, asking you for money, buy souvenirs and so. The best way to know people in India is travelling by train (2nd class, of course!)
The customary greeting is done by puttimh your palms together and with a slight nod of the head, saying "namaste."
Why this sign of prayer to the other person? The Vedas, very ancient Indian texts teach of divinity within each and everyone of us. This is an acknowledgement of that Divinity.
Greeting: Namastey, Hello, Hi. Handshake is ok, no kissing unless you know who you are kissing!
Greeting Elders: Touch their feet and say 'namastey'. You may win an old lady's heart ;)
Sardars: Dont provoke a Sardar around 12 O' Clock. My wife (who is a Sardarni from father's side) warns that she should not be provoked at all, whether it is 12 or 5!
Jats: Dont ask him to multiply.
Biharis: They are all 'bhaiyas' (brothers).
Banias: A Bania is unlikely to have a stand, this way or the other unless money comes in hand.
Elephant headed pot-bellied idols: They are gods worshipped by some hindus.
Ash trayish artefacts with phallus like structure in between: It actually represents Lord Shiva's Phallus and some hindu's worship it in veneration of the life generating forces that it epitomizes.
Idol with Monkey face and athletic body: Another god worshipped by some hindus. Called as Hanuman, he devoted himself to Lord Ram's service.
Hindu: Etymology: From Indus of the Indus Valley Civilization fame.
One could believe in God and be a Hindu, one could be an atheist and be a Hindu. One could believe in Ram as an incarnation of God and be a Hindu, one could believe that Ram is just a lesson in history and be a Hindu.
Hinduism is more about an approach to life than rituals or any kind of spiritual hierarchy. Thus it is not covered by the dictionary definition of the word 'Religion'. I think I have already crossed limits for a section that is just supposed to be for 'Cultural Tips'!!
Having people follow you around trying to sell you anything under the sun can be really, really frustrating - the easiest way to let them know that you're not interested is to AVOID EYE CONTACT... Believe me...it works! (most of the time)
Then, on the other hand you meet some genuine people. The mother of this baby was so pleased when I asked her if I could hold her baby.
Every person who renders you a service is usually called 'bhaiya' means brother. So, if it's an autorickshaw driver, shopkeeper, fellow pedestrian, bus conductor (in case u do travel by bus!) etc. call them bhaiya. Refrain from using this affectionate term in better restaurants/ malls, because it can be taken as an insult. This term is used for the lower service class.
Couldnt resist putting these up here!
Unassuming road signs and assorted boards can sometimes make for good entertainment on the streets...:)