It's 7pm. After two days of traversing busy, dusty roads I am convinced that most delhi-ites have no real regard for their life my life. The traffic has terrified me all day, every day. Overtaking from everyside, leaving not nearly an inch on any side of our car at all times. It's all I can do to not sit in the centre of the back seat with my eyes shut and hands drawn into tight fists, listening to something calming on my ipod. Instead I am taking the high road (literally) and am sitting by the windows, eyes wide open, enjoying every minute of being here, even in the madness of the traffic.
Everyone seems to have a car, if not multiple cars. Such a change from when we first moved to this colony in a different decade and our family was one of the few ones with a car. The colony chowki-dar used to come on his nightly rounds with a stick and whistle, the two familiar sounds guaranteed in their loudness to show who was boss and assure even it's littlest residents that all was well and that he was guarding us and our property. He'd blow his whistle and tap the stick standing by our car a few extra times. Maybe he was only letting his friends, the thieves, know exactly where we had parked? Our car never got stolen so I guess he wasn't - it's just fun to re-live childhood conspiracy theories. Now life in this middle class colony is all gated and secured far more fastidiously. And the choice of car is mind boggling, even for a thief, with each family owning mutliple cars, each trying to outdo their neighbour with fancier bigger better. The sidewalks to my childhood bus stops are all covered in cars now and little kids seemingly get dropped to their school bus or even school in their cars. How the world has changed.
Delhi is covered in flyovers. They are everywhere. Like a well spread concrete maze. Almost all completed on time and changing the landscape of the city. And it's not just simple up-down flyovers but complicated clover leaf like permutations where each arm leads to a different place. Large multi-lane flyovers that have eased the journey out of congestion and into rash-ness. Cars flying across the hot tarmac, defying gravity, ignoring the signs, mileage limits and generally being lawless. Yet today I sat in gridlock at the top of a flyovers, proving that even these giants will not hold this surging economy in line.
I'm tired from the fullness of the day and the battles on the road. I need a shower to deal with the dust. But I think a plate of aloo tikki (with everything on it) will rejuvenate me a lot quicker.
Chowki-dar: Watch-man/ guard
Aloo tikki: Indian yummy snack made of potatoes and covered a in variety of sauces/ yogurt