For a western tourist it’s easy to be shocked, and hard to both talk and not talk about poverty in India. For all the Indians’ great toil: peddling carts stacked high with office furniture mending cars in bare feet on busy broken pavements, the infrastructure is often derelict along with standards of health and hygiene.
I’ve been staying in what Farooq at the tourist information office refers to as the “slum area”, where, in the distance, sleek skyscrapers thrust office workers into the sky. Downtown, not much is gleaming; it’s subsistence, stinking, and I’ll neither romanticise nor attempt to draw a silver lining.
In a backstreet, next to a humming substation, I came across a small shrine to Ganesha, blessed with bird poo. For me, the fresh offerings (non avian) and humble situation made him all the more potent, and prompted a quiet moment.
On another note, I passed my driving test by managing to keep one of the mechanics on the pillion whilst ‘negotiating’ a couple of kilometres around town. So now, just who should be praying to the big feller isn’t so clear-cut.
Tomorrow, notwithstanding this bloody useless, pre-paid cash card, I’ll take to the road and head South East to Agra, to the tune of a thumping 500 single designed by Royal Enfield nearly 70 years ago and still manufactured today in Chennai.
That’s another story.