Monday, 4 September 2006

Misplaced persons

My sister and I only had a couple of days by ourself in Delhi. When we arrived, our friend from Chennai took us to see her sister, who taught at a local school. She was just finishing some office work, and then took us home for dinner. She was a fabulous cook, I remember the best chicken soup I've ever eaten.

The next day we hired a car to take us round Delhi and the day after, we went on a tourist bus to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal. On our way back, I looked out of the window. There was a fabulous crescent moon, lying on its back in an attitude I'd never seen before. I squeaked and tugged at my sister's arm to show her. She woke from her doze and was completely unimpressed. How could that be? It was marvellous.

However close you are to someone, there can still be a gulf of incomprehension over the oddest things.

We got back to the city and the driver dropped people off in various convenient sites. We were the last, and tried to describe the situation of the hotel, which we couldn't remember the exact name of....... Finally, we saw a landmark and told him that we were very close and would get out, and thanked him.

We had been wrong. The hotel was not just around the corner. It was after 11 at night and we hadn't a clue where we were, and we had hardly any money on us. Slight anxiety. We couldn't even ask as we were not sure what to ask for - and there was no one around anyway. We did know we were close to the hotel as we recognised the general area, but had no notion of which way to walk.

An auto-rickshaw stopped. Luckily, the driver spoke reasonable English. We explained the situation and asked if he could cruise around a bit until we found the big landmark building near the hotel. Unfortunately, we had only 30 Rupees between us (we had no idea how much he'd charge as our friends in Chennai always lent us one of their cars and drivers).

He was willing. And we hadn't been driving for long when we spotted a building we recognised. And this time we were right.

We really wished we had been able to give him more than 30 Rupees, which is about 50 pence.

The next day we caught the train to Dehradun for more wedding celebrations.

4 comments:

Geena said...

Oh aren't those little foreign adventures such fun when you look back. I've never been out East and don't know why it doesn't appeal to me. Especially India.

As you said in your moon anecdote...some things are only meaningful to ourselves and cannot be shared in a real way with someone else. You just have to hug those moments to yourself.

Z said...

It was most memorable for the kindness of the rickshaw driver. Having had a driver/guide the previous day who had tried to rip us off, we hadn't got the highest opinion of how tourists in Delhi were treated.

Banana said...

The Taj was SO beautiful and amazing that I forgot about the heat when I was there.

Z said...

It's surprising that it is still so peaceful, however large the crowds.

You can't come upon it with no prior knowledge or expectations, I found myself thinking 'oh yes, that's what I expected, isn't it lovely'. But then, having wandered all around and looked at it closely and looked at the views, I went towards the gates again, turned for a final look, and that was when its beauty really hit and overwhelmed me, when I least expected it.