Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Wild Ride

Light and Sound Show at the Red Fort

A part of the Red Fort
I don’t know what it is about this 2:45 AM IST that explains why I continue to be wide awake.  But here I am again- it looks like my posts online will have to be in bursts.  To access the internet, I have to borrow a USB connector from someone so unless Dr. Jolly has an extra cord or plug, there will be some limits to my internet connectivity which is fine- I think some degree of sacrifice is a good thing!
            Last night, I ended up going with Redka to the Hindu temple- traveling back and forth definitely inspired some prayers to the high heavens.  Traveling by rickshaw in Delhi in the dark is quite the experience.  Imagine relying on a bone-thin man to pedal you through a chaotic mob of motorbikes, cars, oxen, tall buses and taxis where lighting isn’t ideal and people don't really listen to the lines dividing the lane.  Furthermore, there’s stray dogs running around and tons of people lying on the sides of the road- dozens on the divider between three lanes of highway traffic.  Kind of insane.  But the gods were good and we arrived unharmed!
            I had been to the Hindu temple in Middletown, CT and this one was remarkably similar.  You buy sweets to offer to the gods, take off your shoes, ring the bells upon entering then touch and pray to the various deities around the room.  A holy man put a thumbprint of red powder on my forehead when we made our offering- after an evening of being devoured by mosquitos, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, had a mini-panic attack about the red spot on my face then I remembered why it was there.  We offered our leftover sweets to a man with his two monkeys and some of beggars outside then returned on rickshaw to our hostel.
            Rekha’s friend who she earned her degree with brought us to the Red Fort Sound and Light show. Since it was the English version, I anticipated the audience as primarily tourists but it was probably split half and half.  The hour-long show detailed the history of the city, accompanied by ethnic music and overly dramatic sound effects.  The same ruler who commissioned the Taj Mahal built the Red Fort and the sheer enormity of the structure blows my mind.  I would have loved to be there during the heyday of Mongol rule.  I attempted to take some pictures but it being so dark outside, none of them remotely capture the experience of being dwarfed by these massive stone walls with the full moon illuminating our long walk back to the car.  I’m preparing to get my breath taken away by the Taj Mahal- a woman on the metro advised visiting during the full moon which is the only time they open all evening but since that was tonight, I’m not sure if I’ll get the opportunity with being there only a month.
            Ok, work starts tomorrow!   Still no word on what that work might entail, which is kind of embarrassing when people ask me what I’m doing here.   But hopefully I’ll figure that out soon!