It has been 2 months since I posted anything. This a result of my travels as well as the many projects that I have been involved in. All of this will slowly unravel in the next couple of posts. Anyway for now enjoy:-
6th July 2009
Well folks...its that time again, When I head back to my Bharat (India). It was on Thursday the second of July when yours truly flew back to New Delhi after 2 years. Well I had heard that India had changed, I had seen the movies that depicted the trance-formation of India however nothing prepared me for the amount of Western influence on the land that has a huge history of culture and civilisation.
Anyway...we’ll discuss that in some other post inshAllah.
However reaching the Indira Gandhi Airport was a huge emotional moment for the family as it was the first time we were going to meet all the Chachas, Chachis, Khala, Khaluus, Mammus, Mammis and cousins for the first time after my Papa(May Allah have mercy on his soul) had passed away.
It was a long night with condolences offered and stories exchanged. It was 3am before i managed to get some sleep in my cousin’s flat in a place called Malvi-Nagar.
The next day was spent complaining about the 40 degree Celsius sweltering heat in the Delhi sun.
The last time I came to India I came in the heat as well however for some reason the heat this time is hotter. It’s like sitting in an oven with a hot fan blowing hot air into your face and then drinking cold Bisleri (mineral water-seeing as how we can’t drink normal drinking water from the tap as then we would be super-shitting) and then sitting around eating heavy and delicious Nihari curry, Chicken Kurma curry and eating...mangoes.
Now one who has never been to India in summer has no idea what I am talking about. However if one has been to India in the summer then one gets to sample all the different types of varieties available on the market, especially when one is blessed with a loving khandan (clan) such as myself.
The latest aam (mango) variety on the market is the langra (handicapped) mango variety. Why it is called as such I have no idea however knowing us Indians I am sure there is an elaborate folk story for the history of the “handicapped” mango.
It was on Saturday that a cousin of mine took us to visit some of the historical monuments in Delhi or Dilhi as it is pronounced in Hindi.
We first stopped at Humayouns tomb.This is a historical monument built by one of the mughal emperors as a tomb for him and his family. Althrough I don’t remember much of the history behind it is was interesting to note that there was a drianigae sys em implemented probably to drain the water from the rains. It was also interesting to note that the architecture of the entire tomb was highly symmetrical i.e. the tomb was enclosed in a square compound and hence everything of note in the tomb for example the many fountains and gardens were all shaped into squares and even their intricate designs had squarish details.
The next stop was India Gate. This is a monument built by the British in memory of the Indian soldiers who fought for them in the First world war. There is a fire that burns and has been burning since the inception of the monument which is guarded 24-7. It was interesting to note that there were a considerable amount of Muslim soldiers who fought for the British during the war.
We then drove to Cannought Place. I used to imagine that this was spelt Cannot Place and always wondered who would name such a place and why? Alas! my contemplation was in vain as sadly such a name did not exist. In Cannought Place there exists a shop known as Kevinders-apparently it is famous for its Milk Shakes. And indeed jostling in line trying to get a Milk shake I found out its fame was not exaggerated. This claim was further put to the test when I drunk their strawberry milkshake was delicious and might I add icy cold!
Next on the list was the famous Jama Masjid of Old Delhi. To get here and park would be a hastle so we decided to take the Metro from the Rajiv Chowk Metro station to the Chawri Bazaar Station. I have to say I am extremely impressed by the Metro service in Delhi and hope that soon God Willing it will be able to span Delhi and connect it all over. From the Chawri Bazaar station we took a 10 rupee rickshaw to Jama Masjid.
Jama Masjid was amazing. I love coming to the Jama Masjid area in Delhi, the smell of the restaurants and the frying chickens and the hustle and bustle of everyone doing their business in tiny shops is an experience and sight that one can’t find anywhere else. However I have to say that I do not like the lack of cleanliness in this mainly Muslim area. Being Muslim we have been told that being clean is a part of our faith however sadly I do not find this being practised in the Jama Masjoid area.
The Jama Masjid was built by the moghuls as are most historical monuments in the Delhi and Agra areas and again it is an architectural marvel, MashAllah.
In the Jama Masjid area we stopped to have a meal of Afghani Chicken and Mutton Birra. Two dishes which tastes out if this world . The flesh of the Mutton was tender and soft and when one bites into and pulls it comes away ever so perfectly in one’s mouth. This is probably due to the Masala and grill that the Mutton and chicken both have undergone before they reached our plates.
After that we headed back to the Malvi-Nagar area in New Delhi where my cousin lives having spent an extremely event filled day in Delhi.