So, what’s it like to see the streets of Delhi? Well, I must say that Delhi is just like any other city in a developing country, dusty, polluted and chaotic. But don’t get me wrong, that is the fun of living in a big city, full of people, full of life. Street life is everything, it’s where you see the truth of life. Recently I experienced a fraction of street life in Delhi while riding on a rickshaw that took my husband and I through a busy market street on a Friday.
The ride was supposed to cost us 100 rupee each; which means for the two of us it could cost us 200 rupee, and the rickshaw rider was a skinny young lad and I was unsure whether he could manage both of us.
The rickshaw man took us through the alleyways between Jama Masjid Road, Chawri Bazaar, and Nai Sarak Marg, where the real city life was happening.
As he peddled on, he keep on shouting to the people in front of him to tell them that we were coming and to give way.
I wondered if there were any regulations for this small “street”, whether it was a one way street or a two way street? or whether this street was exclusively for rickshaws or not, but obviously its not as ahead is a car going into the narrow street.
Along the route he tried to explain to us whereabouts in the section of the bazaar we were, as we passed by the gold selling stores, then the sari selling stores… and he yelled again to tell people we were coming.
As we made another turn, the street was getting narrower, but that didn’t mean that less activities, as more and more people were on the street with all sorts of activities, from selling goods on the floor (not inside a shop or kiosk) to moving goods either with or without trolley/wheelbarrow.
I guessed as this street should have been a one way street by now, as there was no space for people to walk side by side with our rickshaw, but oops I was wrong:
Out of nowhere, there was this man suddenly walking in front of us carrying “tons” of….
On this street, it seemed life and the excitements not only happened on the surface, as another excitement was happening on top of the electricity pole;
where all the wiring of the power supply for the shops are entangled together and “working” very hard, just like what’s going on at street level.
I wondered whether this monkey tried to fix the wiring system or it’s the one who messed it all up… or it’s just taking the advantage of the messy power cables.
What about these guys? are they trying to fix the problem? or trying to catch the “un-authorised wire specialist” (the monkey)? or maybe they are on a suicide mission, trying to get themselves electrocuted.
And the excitement didn’t stop there, as soon as we got out of the “alleyway” this is the other side of street life:
A sewage truck got stuck in a ditch, waiting to get lifted back to street level, while the majority of the people seemed not to worry at all.
I guess this is what the real life is. It was chaos, and it’s been working like this for decades, and counting. I am glad to see and experience this first hand, I guess this is what happens in developing countries. I was pampered for the last 8 years living in Doha with everything looking modern and clean. On the other hand, as somebody coming from Indonesia, this was how I grew up, with unorganized chaos, this also reminded me of our very own traditional market, minus the monkey, all activities and excitement are jumbled up together. I had been there….
Thanks to my rickshaw man who give us a quick and effective guide through the alleyways. It was an exciting ride and in the end we gave him 500 rupee from the both of us.