Feb 17, 2011

Delhi Trip - Day 3

It was the third day of our stay. The clouds had cleared up – it was bright and sunny and perfect weather to sight-see in Delhi. We had the Qutub complex on our agenda. We took the metro down to the Qutub Minar metro station. There were share Omni cabs waiting to prey on travelers wanting to visit the Qutub complex. They packed 9 people including the driver into that cab at Rs. 10 per person. It was so cramped that the gear shift was between my friend’s legs throughout the journey. The clown that he is, he didn’t waste an opportunity to squeal every time the driver tried to shift gears!

The Qutub complex had the same racist agenda as the Red Fort – foreigners have to pay Rs. 250/- whereas Indians and natives of the SAARC countries need only pay Rs. 10/-. I had posted a couple of status messages about this blatant racism. Many people commented on it. One of them, an architect friend of mine, said that the Archaeological Survey of India uses the extra money generated from the foreigners to maintain the monuments. However, she also pointed out that despite the money taken, basic amenities like drinking water and clean toilets are not provided for visitors. This was not the case in the US apparently, as confirmed by my friend, who said that most landmarks did not ask for a fee to get in and offered world-class services.

Anyway, we spent about an hour and half at the Qutub complex. A bunch of school kids were also visiting at the same time. Some of them were sporty and posed for pictures. I’ll post a few for your reference.

We decided to take a rickshaw back to the metro station. The rickshaw driver insisted that we visit a couple of emporiums on our way as he would get some free gas cards if we did that. We visited the Rajasthan emporium where I tried to buy a kurta pyjama set for my friend. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find anything that would fit my friend properly. So we left the emporium without buying anything. The rickshaw wallah stopped us at Saket metro station. From there, we took the metro to INA station and went to Delhi Haat for the second time in three days.

It was such a different experience this time. All the stalls were occupied and there was so much more to see. We shopped around like crazy – my friend bought more scarves, jewelry, and a Madhubani painting, whereas I picked up some exotic ball pens (from Rajasthan), some wrist jewelry, and a handmade leather-covered book for my colleagues at the office. I bought my friend a handmade leather-covered book and a framed medium size Madhubani painting as gifts. Once again, we ate at the Kerala food stall – this time we had Puttu + Kadala Curry, Appam + Chicken Curry, and an Onion Oothappam.

We ran into a mom/daughter couple from the USA – we had met them on our fist vist two days back as well. Pamela, the mother, wanted to use my phone to get in touch with her husband – she didn’t have a local phone. Our conversation with her was raunchy and funny and she immediately realized that we were ‘seeing’ each other. She indirectly told us that we were a beautiful couple. It was the second time in Delhi that strangers had recognized us as a couple and complemented us. It felt wonderful!

With all the stuff we had bought, we had to take a rickshaw back to the hotel. We celebrated our third successful day out together by sipping some beer (that too, Fosters) that the room boy had specially arranged for us. After relaxing in the room for a couple of hours, we went up to the rooftop restaurant of the hotel, where the chef had made a special Hyderabadi Chicken Biriyani for us. Although the spices weren’t all there, he did a remarkable job of making one for us. We finished another bottle of Fosters beer along with the dinner. With a heavy stomach and a heavy heart full of thoughts having to leave each other and the wonderful city of Delhi the next day, we returned back to the hotel room.

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