Wednesday, June 07, 2006

44, Kastrubha Gandhi Marg

has little meaning in India if you want to reach this address physically (post is a different matter). People typically give directions by referring to landmarks. One of my first days in Delhi after having been away in firangi land, I asked a couple of friends I was meeting for recommendations for a good hairdresser. When they began telling me about landmarks ("go behind Khan market from the Bahrisons side and then you will pass a sarkari* looking building with lampshadewalas, ask anyone there and they will tell you"). I had my firangi blinders on and asked them for the address (as in number and street) and they looked at me as if something was wrong with me.

When I reached there, I had to ask three people (2 lampshade shops (this building had more than proportionate number of lampshade walas and that is something about Delhi that I have not got used to, there is a whole gali full of spectacle walas in Chandni Chowk) and one Khadi Bhandar place) before I finally found the place.

Under this system you end up talking to more people, making that human connection. Koonj has written about the lack of human connection that she encountered in US. I have to say that in India it is the other way around. You stop to ask someone for directions and you can be assured that 2 other onlookers will contribute to the conversation(strangely enough, I have never seen this in Kerala). Sometimes this can be uncomfortable. Delhi is not a safe city, do I really want all these strange men to know where I am going? So, I typically ask women and that too in a low voice, so I don't get unsolicited advice on where plaza cinema is in Connaught Place.

sarkari building = Buildings that house government offices. They are often built by the Central Public Works Department, tend to be rather ugly and are not well- maintained. If you have lived in India, identifying them should not be difficult.

3 comments:

Muslim Mama said...

In mumbai, you don't get the kind of human connection as in delhi, or chennai. Mumbai was more...'mind ur own business 'kind of.Chennai, however, was overwhelmingly nosy, sorry to use that term.After growing up in mumbai, it was a shock. No body minded if people overheard their conversations and butted in with their two-bits of advice.But, I found it appalling at first.I've learned to accept it and find it ok now. But, living in Hk, changed things again, but luckily here in SL people aren't overly nosy.

sivaramamenonroad said...

aha, thats interesting to know. Hey did you make the Kichdi:-)?

Muslim Mama said...

The kichdi is something I have to do this week...I couldn't last week. will certainly let u know the results.Thanks.