November 21, 2014

The Delhi Life

All of these hand-woven kashmiri rugs were so pretty, I had a hard time picking which one to take home!
 friends in Delhi. Special thanks to these guys for an amazing time!

"I have to go visit Delhi." My friend Pranav, who grew up in Delhi and now living in Ottawa, would always say in a tone that I would say, "I have to go get a tetanus shot", or "I have to get this wart checked". A way that it is obligated hassle. "What's wrong with Delhi?" I'd always ask, "It kills my soul" he'd always reply.

Delhi is by far the most in-your-face chaotic city I have ever been. Upon arrival outside the airport, the first thing one notice aside from all the sketchy taxi hustlers and the greasy humid air is the smell of Delhi. It doesn't smell like one particular thing, but multiple things combined, in which after a few hours you realize that it's a combination of smog, public urination, animal fecal matter, and garbage.

On the streets of India I've seen multiple men urinating on the side of the street, wads of phlegm being spit out that in some public areas there were even signs that indicate a fine for spitting. If people weren't spitting or urinating, they were throwing their garbage on the streets while stray dogs, cows, goats, monkeys were sorting through them like a mine.

It was on the 4th day in India that I saw two women crouching down while pulling up their saree to urinate outside KFC. I was so desensitized that my first response was, "hey there's KFC here!".

Sometimes when you walk by a restaurant you would smell delicious paneer or chicken tendori, but then a whiff of stench would over come. When I was hanging out with Vineet I made a hobby of asking him what all the smell was, and every time it would be different: "Oh, there's a sewer there.", "Oh, that's just construction.", "Oh, that's from the garbage", "It's probably from those goats".

Traffic in India is ridiculous. No one drives in their lane. 3 painted lanes become 5 lanes filled with tongas, rickshaws and cars. No one follows road signs or rules. Sometimes a cow would be in the middle of the street and everyone has to go around the cow. Everyone honks at everyone because honking on the street is their number one past time, maybe even more than talking on the cellphone. It is common to see a guy driving against traffic on the wrong side of the street while honking the entire time.

On the Yamuna Expressway I saw two dead human bodies.

"Vineet!! I saw two dead people on the express way!" I was stirred. I have never seen dead humans before let alone just them randomly lying on the side of the road.
"Oh, that's common." Vineet said. He didn't even flinch.
"What?! That's awful!!"
"There are 1.35 billion people in India and no one follows traffic rules, someone is bound to get hit."

India, Delhi included, is all about the extremes. Extremely wonderful smell of fragrance oil and incense, or extremely awful smell of some live animal's secretion. Extremely spicy dishes that make your stomach protest, or extremely sweet desserts that make your teeth ache. Extremely rich people that live like Sultans, and extremely poor people that can't even afford to buy rotis to eat. Extremely nice people who go out of their way to help you, or extremely rotten people that wants to con every rupees out of you.

Foreigners might as well wear a bull's eye in Delhi. As soon as a local sees a foreigner their eyes turn into dollar signs, like the cartoons. "Do you want a taxi?", "Do you want your shoes polished?", "Do you want a car charger?", "Can you give me money?", everyone pesters you on the street. Even after you give candy to a begging child, they continue to beg for more things until you shoo them away. Everyone that says 'hello' to you has a purpose. No one actually just wish you a good morning.

When a foreigner wants to buy something, the store person marks the item up by more than 300%. My saree initially cost 4000 rupees in which I haggled down to 800 rupees. A necklace a local can get for 150 rupees they ask a foreigner for 1000 rupees a minute later. Even buying a bottle water on the side of the street or waving a taxi require haggling. "Do they all think we're Scrudge McDuck back home?!", I commented. But in reality, even if you live in a 1 bedroom project with a kitchen and a living room, that is already way better than the majority of the population in India.

I knew it was time to leave the country when I became so immune that I was shooing begging kids away, telling off people who tried to bud in my line, and flipping out at taxi drivers: "I already said NO to those two drivers right in front of you! What makes you think I will say yes to you?!!", as I screamed at the 3rd taxi driver. I guess Pranav was right- Delhi does kill the soul.

But I'll say that for Delhi, though, if you can haggle well, one USD can go far. And often we got this weird high after we haggled and know that we got something for a good price, it was like we earned it, us against them, and they lost against team foreigners. And for whatever reason, within minutes you are back on the Delhi streets, walking through the smog and the roadside animals, you'd be looking forward to whatever delicious and cheap to eat next or whatever awesome thing to haggle even just for fun at some random side booth.


  1. beautiful photos! inspiring^)

  2. Your photos are so stunning! Have a happy weekend. :D

    I am following you on GFC and on BLOGLOVIN. I hope you can follow me back if you haven't yet. Thank you!


  3. OMG I would love to visit this beautiful place one day... so many great photos !

    P.S. nice blog, would You like to follow each other ?
    xx Katerina

  4. Great photos!! Good outfit too!! Id love to visit one day!!

  5. Wow these photos are amazing! All the colors and architecture is breathtaking!

    <3 Shannon

  6. Amazing photos! Very nice post!
    I'm following you on GFC and Google+, I hope you'll follow back :)

  7. These pictures are awesome! Gorgeous place!

  8. Too cute, wonderful clicks.
    Come to my Pakistan next time :)

  9. Hmmm... Dehli sounds a lot like Philadelphia with the urine, fecal, garbage smell everywhere. Doesn't sound like a place I'd like to visit, but great pictures as usual.

  10. Two of my exes lived in Delhi and both of them made me very anxious yet excited about the possibility of traveling there some day. Your pictures and account of the city are very appreciated, most people just talk about the good parts and avoid mentioning the nitty gritty. Looks like you had a great time!

  11. Incredible. Seriously these post are amazing- I love that you give such an honest account of the people and place and how you felt. Your blog has quickly become a fave and I can't wait to read what comes next!

  12. I absolutely love how you captured these images, it definitely making me consider going to India, I've heard there is a lot of pollution and its really dirty, have you experienced that?

  13. Love your photos. Never been to India but it's always been on my list of places to visit.

  14. your photos are so nice. thanks for sharing
    new post:

  15. Oh wow, your description of Delhi got me squirming. LOL! I have many friends who went to Delhi and told me the same thing. Nevertheless, it must be quite an experience for you. Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

    Reflection of Sanity

  16. Is it wrong to use stilts to walk around Delhi? I'm feeling skyscraper heel will not be enough to dodge the phlegm spit and fresh urine....

  17. Many friends of mine have been to Delhi too and they told me just the same. I don't think I could go, even for a short trip. I am sure there are beautiful things, too but I imagine all the misery just numbs your senses. Nice pictures though!

  18. Omg, I was so impressed by your photo diary that when I read the text under the photos, I was shocked. It might be a great experience and a must-visit place, but honestly, peeing everywhere isn't cool! Ok, the tremendous difference between rich and poor isn't something that shocks me, but dead people just like that... that's insane! Thank you for sharing your point of view and those lovely photos anyway! You have an interesting blog, keep in touch!


  19. I guess their roads are also sidewalks. I'd like to send the mutant DC bike riders there for a week--they think they have it bad here with their small bike lanes. There some amazing things to see in Delhi, but I have to say no to going there. Thanks for letting us have a peek into your visit.

  20. "militant" not "mutant" bike riders. Or maybe both. :)

  21. Your photos are so, so gorgeous! I've never considered India as one of my top places to go, but it looks so culturally rich and gorgeous that I think it's made the list! Maybe not Delhi . . . but definitely India! That's crazy how chaotic the city is. I can't imagine living in a place like that.

  22. The pictures were amazing, they're so rich and beautiful and yet calming since we're just seeing photos and not being immersed in the crazy crazy city! Dead bodies being burned by the river side, dead bodies piled up, people taking their toilet break anywhere....that's the very real reality in some part of the world! I've seen and been in countries like that but no where as crazy as India from what I've heard and seen! Glad you've survived your trip!

  23. Wow... after reading your series here, I am questioning if I ever want to go there... I do want to see the Taj Mahal and the other beauty that India holds ... not sure I could handle seeing people just pee wherever and seeing dead human beings on the side of the road. I love reading what you write... really amazing..

    I wish you and many of my blogger friends lived closer... I would so drop by with some of my goodies for Christmas xox

  24. Wow, your blog is amazing!
    Love all pictures in this post.
    Keep in touch,

  25. Very interesting to read your impressions of Delhi. My memories of it are similar but also different... this reminds me that I need to go back one day.

  26. Wow...Delhi sounds like one crazy city...
    A lot of the things you've described remind me of the Philippines. Public urination and the awful driving for one. But wow, dead bodies? That's bad...that'd get to me too.
    Bahaha, and seriously! If they spot your light skin, they immediately corner you. My mom often shoos me away when she wants to buy something in the Philippines, because she knows they'll mark up the price if they see me with her. But hey, it toughens you up and you get real good at haggling! That's always a victories feeling :)

    The Dragonfruit Diaries

  27. I love your snapshots! Delhi sounds intense, to say the least - would be confronting for people who aren't used to it I guess.

  28. Hi beautiful,
    I was just browsing through & stumbled upon your lovely blog - It looks gorgeous and it has interesting posts that I can relate to, I’ll come back for sure.
    Would you like to follow each other on GFC and other social media?
    Let me know and let’s keep in touch love <3

  29. your photography is just surreal--stunningly beautiful, and those monkeys!!

  30. So great you went back and visited. I'm currently in southeast Asia and would love to visit that area!
    Melanie @

  31. Gorgeous photos, all the colors are amazing. My husband has had similar stories while visiting over seas. I'm not sure I could hack it!

  32. Wow! You have great pics. What an experience that must have been! :)


  33. Your photographs are beautiful, and I especially love the one of you receiving a henna tattoo! Reading about your trip to Delhi was definitely eye-opening. I am currently planning a trip to Nepal this summer, and I hope reading posts like yours will help me prepare for the trip so that I may gain as much from the experience as possible.

  34. The pictures are stunning!!!!! just so colourful and live! i think such places just change you forever in different way!
    Great post!!!


  35. These photographs are beautiful, looks like an amazing trip!

  36. I love the photos! My favorite is the monkey one. I'm not sure I would like being in a place where everyone is following me around and begging me for stuff!

  37. Love the pics!!