A longing for stillness. A need for fresh air and time for thinking. Emotions like these are strong while the appetite for more is knocking on the door. That is how I feel after a few days in Delhi, where thousands of glimpses from peoples lifes, fragments of stories that could be told but never will be fill my mind. Though it seems impossible I have chosen a few of these very first impressions to pass on to you.
The charm and kindness of the people is clear to see even through the haze and dust of the city: if you go where people live their lifes, where they eat, sleep, work and dream, you’ll feel their warmness and opennes as soon as you greet them with the respectful ”Namaste”. As a tall, white person you can’t hide from anyone here, but most of the glances are curious in the way a child would look at a strange animal for the first time. You’ll meet hundreds of brown eyes when you walk through the busy streets of Nehru place or the bumpy, dirty paths of Pahar Ganj, one of the busy bazars in Delhi. Here, the sounds of motorbikes honking, children laughing and windpipes blowing blend with a constant murmur of the soft and lively Hindi-language.
The creatures of the night are somehow tied to the ground: a horse under a cover has ropes arounds it’s neck and back hooves. Two rickshaw drivers stand closely together by the roadside after a long day on the bike having a meal of dal and freshly made chapati from a hot tandoori oven. Dark silhouetes try to keep warm around a fire made of wood, karton or dung, since the night temperature goes down to 5-10 degrees celcius at this time of year. People wear woollen hats, big scarfs and jackets, and the countless homeless people sleep on the street wrapped in old blankets looking like dark ghosts, or they wander around to collect waste. This time of day some shadows of the city that are not seen at daytime come out: an man with deformed feet crawling on his knees, a mother with a child or a child without a parent. On the picture below, you see Shivangi, who is 8 years old. Her hands are cold but her face shows a proud smile – she knows how to survive in the streets of Pahar Ganj.