...is all I need.
I experienced India in a whole to way today. My explorations took me into Old Delhi. The location of the most history as well as the most despair.
My friend from work, Ganesh, took me into Old Delhi. Our first experience was trying to park his car. We pulled down the street where the supposed parking lots were. It was nothing but a collage of cars, trucks, buses, rickshaws, motorcycles, pedestrians, and little wheeled sales stands. There was absolutely no order to it at all. About 40 minutes later we were able to make a U turn and get out. We were able to pay some security guards at the Red Fort to let us park the car behind their gate. Somethings are impossible in India, others just take about 50 Rupees.
We walked over to Jama Masjid Mosque, the largest mosque in India. It took some guts and timing to cross the street from where we parked. You then walk through and entry about 30 feet wide and proceed down a long walkway that leads up to the mosque. At the time it was all a little too much to handle, but now it is all sinking in. It's almost 2 am and I am overwhelmed just thinking about it. On the right was a stand selling Biryani, a rice dish. Look straight ahead and the first man you see is blind, the second almost completely crippled. Both begging. There is a little break to let it set in. Then you start to see it all. Beggars of all kinds. Cripples, children, elderly, blind, strung-out, amputee's, dwarfs, widows, etc, etc, etc. A pile of feces, most likely human, sets right before the next food stand. Just after that another man relieving himself. On the right there is vendor after vendor peddling their goods. Ganesh was a great help in keeping a quick pace and putting himself between me and those who would approach. Being white is like strapping a huge magnet to your body and walking through Home Depot.
After you have seen the mosque there is only one way out... The way you came in. Again, it's hard to put into words. I feel like I saw the dregs of a society. After we left I almost felt unaffected and uncaring. In hindsight I realize that my subconscious muted my thoughts and emotions during that walk. It was my defense mechanism. Witnessing this degenerate attempt to subsist was one of the saddest things I have ever seen. It felt intense, corrupt, and sad. History and faith being swallowed up by desperation and corruption.
Red Fort. It is an impressive structure. All out of red stone. Built by one of the old kings to stand as protection, a capitol for his kingdom, and also a mark of strength. We walked in to see a light and sound show but the mosquito's were too bad. The show was underwhelming, and all in Hindi, so we bailed. We took a cycle rickshaw back to the car and grabbed some dinner.
It was an intense day. All in all I am so glad I saw what I did. You can't put a price on perspective. You also can't write or photograph it. Hope this post did a decent job of telling the story of how I spent this April 19.