It was my first time in Delhi this past May. When my friend asked me if I wanted to go spend some time at the India Gate at around 8:00PM, I thought he was kidding. And as soon as I realized he was not, everything that I had ever read about how bad things are in Delhi flashed across my mind. I asked him if we could go there the following morning, “Better safe than sorry” and he said, “It is safe and you will not be sorry” :).
The unforgiving ever rising mercury, makes it absolutely impossible to venture out during the day, so I guess people just plan their picnics around the evening and continue late into the night in Delhi. We reached India Gate at 8:30 in the night, around the time when several towns in India actually close down for the day, but this place was brimming with life. It looked like one big fair, with vendors selling interesting merchandise, awesome street food and families and friends having tons of fun. And oh boy did I have fun!
The rest of my vacation was spent mostly meeting relatives, neighbors who I see once every three years or so, being with adults, acting like an adult, baby sitting the kids or helping out the elders. All of which I did enjoy, but not exactly how I would have liked to spend a large part of my vacation. So compared to all that, this was a very pleasant and welcoming change. Two old friends, hanging out, eating street food, bargaining with vendors, blowing bubbles, having the time of their life. 🙂 Though I actually went to visit The India Gate, I do not remember much about the monument itself, though I did get some tidbits from my friend. Probably will have to go there another time during the day, to appreciate the solemnity of the structure. This evening was more fun and frolic.
I bought these wooden colorful bangles, had the famous kala-khatta (an indian flavor for a crushed ice popsicle), watched a slide show on a cinemascope machine (ancient), bargained endlessly for this fountain light. Then we stuffed in some bhel puri, golgappa (nope not paani puri), topped all of this with a meetha paan, chatted for a while lying down on the green grass under the night sky amidst the smiles and laughter from groups of friends and families all around us, and finally, packed up a smile of our own and the memorable evening among other things as we got up to leave. 🙂
My friend was right! It was one of the highlights of my vacation, an evening I will cherish for a really really long time. Thanks Gyan!
**Some of these pictures were clicked by my friend! And all pictures were clicked using his camera, since I was too scared to carry mine. (sigh! now I keep thinking why? ) His hospitatlity did not end there, we did end up going to Qutub Minar the following day, more pictures (this time from my camera :)) in the next post.