Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions

Journal

Settling in

October 14, 2009 by Richard Wright in Journal, Life

Easy interwebbery aside, things are very slowly normalising here, as we settle into a very different way of life. While there are, of course, many wonderful things to see here, they remain fairly low on our list of priorities. A huge part of this is having a six year old in tow. It hardly needs said that the climate in Glasgow is very different from that in Delhi, enough to make Kirsty and I reel occasionally. The effect on Eva is even more more profound because, well, she’s tiny. As a result of his, we’re introducing her to Delhi in baby steps, bit by digestable bit. Even then, it’s a bewildering place. It’s hard to think of it as a city at the moment – it’s more like a dozen cities all sat on top of one another, or overlapping images of different places, so the effect of tilting your head changes what you’re looking at entirely.

Last weekend, we wandered into the touristy bit of central Delhi, around Connaught Place if you know it. There are apparently some interesting markets down that way, and now that we have our bearings a bit, we might even find them. This time around, we were too busy finding shelter for Eva, and fending off hawkers trying to sell us backgammon boards. It was hectic, and interesting, but not quite what we were looking for.

That said, we experienced several new things. I’d met some of the street kids before, at traffic lights when they approached my car, but this was the first time we were harrassed on foot. Barely dressed, lots of them are frighteningly young, younger than Eva by a couple of years, and they’ve learned their trade well. It’s only knowing how little of what they earn that they and their families get to keep (begging is largely gang run here, I think, with much of the cash going to the wrong people) that stopped me emptying my pockets. At some point I’ll find a charity that does good things for these kids, and make sure I help out in some way, even if it’s just directing my cash somewhere useful.

The leper, the first of what l’m sure will be many, was eye-opening as well. Eva didn’t really get a good look at what he was waving at us, which was a good thing, because it was his arm.

Oh, and most interesting of all, Kirsty got to experience a totally new kind of cuisine. Desperate to get a by then quite moany child off the street, we dived into the nearest quite-clean establishment we saw. Thus it was that, after several decades, and several thousand miles of travel, my wife experienced her first Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Makes it all worth it, don’t you think?

Okay, better head off. Typing this late at night on my iPhone on a WordPress app, to post on the way tomorrow. I love my iPhone.

*** Edited to add: Having just got cable in the flat, I can confirm that television channels here, especially during the adverts, think it’s the late eighties. I’m only saying.

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