Back to Lodhi Garden to start the day. More exploring. A hidden staircase taking me step by step above the rest of the world. What a view! A bit of filming for the RussaYog channel. One local woman joined us for some pranayam. Turns out she is from a well known family. Her husband is the famous tabla player. We actually use his music at the yoga studio. Small world. Very loving and affectionate woman. Hugs and kisses for all. Just the way I like it.
And then a shift. A trip to Old Delhi where the chaos surrounds. Busy bees going to and fro on foot, on bike, on horse, on bullock, in car. We braved the street and crossed with caution. Visited another Sikh temple, Gurudwara Sisganj, this time we took a seat and enjoyed the prayers and music. A wise man at the temple informed us about Sikhism and discussed investigating what meanings are under the surface. “Hidden treasures are always hidden.” Everyday there is a new message outside the temple. A prayer for the day. Today’s was about how true joy in life comes from doing things for others. Sikhism is all about the shared wellness of society.
And then a shift. A crazy rickshaw ride through the narrow, bumpy streets of Old Delhi. Flying by silk and jewelry stores. Colors and smells surrounding the senses. Often coming to standstill as small Indian men pushed huge shipments down the alleys, balanced but threatening disaster at any moment. Everything and everyone inches from my hands. Power lines in tangles overhead. Live chickens being butchered to the left. Arguing store owners to the right. Everything so alive.
And then a shift. Leave the cameras in the car and enter shoeless with head covered and body draped in a decorative hospital gown. Jama Masjid. One of the largest mosques in the world. Since I was cameraless let me paint the picture:
A large plaza with a pond in the middle. Red terracotta-like walls enclosing all four sides. Three round domes standing high in the sky with towers reaching their prowess even higher into the sky. 122 stairs to climb the tight spiral tower staircase, and then, a view of the whole city. Colorful houses. The Red Fort. An epic sprawl from the height of the Mughal empire. Arabic streaming over loud speakers and devotees on their knees bowing towards Mecca.
I hate to admit it, but as the Muslim prayers echoed through the air, the first thing I thought of was Brody…from Homeland. Dang media infiltrating my every moment.
And then a shift. A quick stop at the Delhi World Book Fair where I read a very interesting children’s book. A summary:
There was a young boy from a mother with a “menial job” who would travel a long way everyday to beg. One day on his way home with nothing, he found this pond that magically gave him a pan of food. He ate it and brought it back to his mom. He stopped working and just went to the pond everyday. His mom was pumped. Then one day, the pond was like, what a freeloader, so instead of food that day she put punches, slaps, and kicks in the pan. When he opened it to eat, he got a good beating. He blamed his mom for making him go there everyday, and so he brought the pan home to her, and she got a good beating too. They learned their lesson. The end.
And then a shift. Let the shopping begin! A trip to Janpath, which means everybody’s spot, to stroll the shops and stock up. I was followed by a man selling postcards for about 100 feet. Price started at 150 rupees and ended at 50. Keep an eye out in your mailbox for amazingly kitschy images of “Indian Culture and Folk.” Then onto bigger and better things! Two gorgeous scarves for $7 and my first salwar kameez (traditional clothing, pictures to follow). Finding the perfect one was essential. I headed upstairs in one shop, and the salesman told me to take a seat as he starting showing me pattern after pattern. I had to keep stopping my brain from switching over to Spanish. I am so used to only traveling to foreign Spanish speaking countries. But Hindi words are coming here and there, and a smile says a whole lot. I, of course, settled on a baby blue and pale yellow one with beautiful sunflower-esque embroidery. Definitely a pattern crafted perfectly for me.
And then a shift. Chocolate ice cream to finish off the night. A bit of work, photo uploads, and my new favorite fruit, chikoo, before bed. 6am call time for day four…Agra and the Taj Mahal!
Note: Please excuse capitalization. I typed this on my automatically-corrects-everything iPhone.