Sorry for this delayed post, I mislaid the log-in information for the blog, but all is well now. And in a way the timing is perfect. We’d had an easy two days in Delhi, so much so that our proto-anthropologist older son was complaining that it was too much like New Jersey. Although not quite the same — last night when we went out for dinner we happened upon a crowd near a fake red sled, surrounded by kids, and on the sled was a big Santa complete with tummy and white beard. When they saw us, one helper eagerly rushed up and began speaking to our 6 year old younger son. The guy was an ex-call center guy eager to show his knowledge of New Jersey — which happened to be that boxer Jim Braddock was called the Jersey Brawler — new one on me. Then when Rafi climbed up the sled, Santa gave him a candy and a special holiday 3 pack of Coca-Cola. All sort of weird and funny.
Today was different. We went to see the tomb of Humayan, the second Mughal emperor. This is a world heritage site being restored by the Aga Khan trust. The Indian school semester is about to end and so the place was filled with school children. The tomb and surrounding buildings are like versions of the Taj — but in red sandstone and marble, in various states of repair and disrepair. If anything is truly a Magic Kingdom this was. Every so often a school boy would rush up to our kids to introduce himself and try out his English (only boys did this). And then we went to the oldest part of Delhi, Nizamuddin’s tomb. This is the still very active buial site and neighborhood of a Sufi saint. This was all India all at once — roses, incense, offerings, a door made of silver, and extreme poverty. We were being led around by a young man who had grown up in those tight, dense alleys and was trained by theAga Khan Trust to be a tour guide. He knew everything, which was both great and overwhelming.
So what is India so far — warm, fascinating, wonderful, magical, exhausting, polluted, and that is just Delhi and just a couple of days. My main sense is that I had seen India often in many photos — but to enter those photos was totally different from looking at them. More soon.