India’s capital city New Delhi; Weather, Population and Map
New Delhi is a giant leafy suburb; trees and canopies of green everywhere you look. It’s very clean city; there is no trace of trash on any part of the street and the sign posts are big and distinct. A sense of colossal amount of order and precision in the planning of the city. I felt like I was touring a modern jungle; I’d never imagined that India would be this green. Luscious, thick and immensely densely populated. The population of the city was 16.8 million people. When I first came to Asia, I could understand the pressure that the people wholly felt; the rampant masses bustling around the busy city. I could understand the need for competition to have better qualifications than others with a greater goal of securing a better life.
I made these observations from the comfort of our old fashioned taxi. It was painted black with green and yellow stripes; a very retro aesthetic taxi driven by an old man named Mr. Kumar. A lovely old man, the car was old like him. It moved slowly with a broken down AC. He spoke to himself at times but was a fantastic guide to the city. Our first stop was the President’s Palace. It was a grand magnanimous dome shaped building. The public weren’t allowed to get close to it but could see it from afar. We proceeded on to the parliament buildings, there was no parking so Kumar advised us to be brief. There was the North and South block that are similarly shaped as the Presidents Palace. The President in India isn’t as popular as the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Modi was originally from the lowest caste but worked very hard to beat the caste system through education and became the Prime Minister. He is popular because he represents the interests of the poor man and works hard to eradicating corruption in India.
Indian architecture looks largely like temples which are large and spacious. These parliamentary blocks are the areas in the capital where political land would converge to hear about to citizen’s problems. My sister, Imani, seemed to be controlled by the back seat of cars like a robot because every time a car would start moving, she would fall asleep instantly. My mother, as every mother is, loved to take pictures, having a fascination with selfies. Possibly stemming from the fact that they come from an older generation and selfies are new to them thus she would “click the camera” (as Indians would say) of her Samsung S9 everywhere.
Our next destination was India Gate which was 500 meters from the parliament building. It was right on the other side of the road, not much of a touristic attraction because one could only take pictures besides the road and continue moving. The gate isn’t a gate but more of a passage way. You can see another passage on the inside of the first. The second looks smaller than the first one. It was very hot, to me it looked like a mirage in the horizon. The pictures mirrored my exact thoughts.
We then went on to see Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial ground known as Raj Ghat. The grounds are luxuriously carpeted in green grass rolling over the land gracefully accompanied by luxurious palm trees on the periphery. There are famous quotes that Gandhi had once said cemented into the ceramic pathways. In the centre is an opening where a person pays one Dirham to enter. This was the only place in India where there Is a sign that says “Do not tip”. I was impressed because even in his death, Gandhi’s values were being followed to the letter. He believed in honest living and having only what is enough for yourself. You have to remove your shoes because of walking into the holy space where he was buried. There’s a pathway of wet green grass that guides visitors to his grave accompanied by sweet and slow Indian music in the background. The area is similarly as green as the outside with a few green trees around the center. The space where Gandhi was cremated has black ceramic tiles with flowers of orange, pink and white arranged in four big circle on the large square shaped centre piece and a small circular one on the smaller square. The grass sprawled over to the top.
This is the first place that we got to that I started to sweat. New Delhi’s humidity was insane. The heat overcame us all thus began to head back to the taxi. It was merely 10:30am and the heat had already begun to kick in. I finally understood why there was air conditioning in every part of India. I sweat in parts of me that I had never thought that I could sweat, like my ears. My body had become a broken tap and the sweat was the water pouring out of my skin unapologetically and uncontrollably. The humidity was unbearable at this point. My face and the faces of the rest of my family members were permanently in a scrunched position. The heat was inescapable. Old Mr. Kumar’s car ran out of air conditioning, thus made the situation much worse. We had to keep the windows open, leaving room for swarms of flies to roaming in and out of the taxi making the situation even worse than it was before. Our bodies were not used to such humidity thus felt as though we were going to die. Despite he fact that it was the monsoon, I would’ve thought that New Delhi would be much cooler, but this wasn’t the case. I could only think what it would be like in the hot season? We each guzzled down the water and juice that was in the taxi hoping that this would make the situation better but it didn’t. I noticed how people walked around with little towels whipping themselves clean of the sweat that stuck to their bodies. I wasn’t just drenched in sweat but I had become the sweat that plagued us all.
The next stop on our city tour was the old astronomical observatory named Jantar Mantar. It is one of the oldest astronomical sites in India consisting of 13 instruments. It was made in the 18th century. This was a red and white colluded astronomical observatory that early astrophysicists would gather together to try solve the mysteries of time of day. It was used to observe the constellations and come up with Indian calendar. Only the best would gather in this area and work endlessly to make a difference and discovery. The monuments there were shaped in diverse and interesting shapes. The first, a red looking coliseum with large windows gaping inside to show sticks that were aligned together to the center known as the Rama Yantra. Another, the Samrat Yantra, a large tower which was filled with stairs shaped like a right angled triangle. There were large windows inside the structure that seemed to the eye illogical but were the home for fascinating figures. It felt like I was in the middle of an architect’s daydream. The stairs leaped up, almost to the sky. The Jayaprakash Yantra that looks like a lotus with numerous stairs around the middle and the sides, it was curved like a corner. The rest were the symmetry and shapes were obscure.
Lodhi Garden was like a public park and the second last place on our list. There’s a stream flowing through the park with a small fountain sprinkling water around nearby with a pathway of circular stones which decorated the path. The gardens are marked with benches and side walks. The thick trees have a large population of squirrels which scamper around the park. There were few people in the park and it felt like it belonged to us. For the first time, I didn’t feel the masses in India. We came across old large temples in the middle of the garden that seemed like they had been here since the beginning of time. They are built with stone that was huge and crumbling from the ceiling, the walls are archaic and ancient. There are large windows and a breeze flowing through the building like walking through a museum. I felt like we would be trapped at any moment by large boulders falling from the rooftop. The place is simply spectacular; there was an Indian design of the lotus everywhere on the buildings. The staircases lead up to the chipped buildings which mirrored one another. The large windows resembled the silhouette imagery that appeared to look like a shadow.
We asked Mr. Kumar to take us to find a shop that sold Indian clothing. The shop we found was beautifully decorated with various items from saris to T-shirts to Indian outfits. There were fabrics, colours and textures from all over the country. Each guest got an assigned helper, mine was known as Vishal. He couldn’t pronounce “Mwende” thus called me “Monica!” I tried on a sari and a few outfits but I knew it would be a waste to buy them because I wouldn’t wear them back home in Kenya. My sister on the hand bought a sari and my mother bought a dress for herself. We then went to get some lunch at a local Indian restaurant where we ordered Chicken Butter along with naan. It was delicious but the helpings were ever so large and we struggled to finish the food. Servings of food in India were made very large, it was too much for a single person to eat.
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