Our pace in India has slowed to a leisurely dribble of travel here and there. The first visit in January of this year was in comparison a mad goose chase from one city to the next. It seems lunacy now that we saw four cities and traversed three massive states during those three short weeks. Granted this is our final or should that be last leg(s). Our cash is ebbing away see too our energy.
Looking back, we were bowled over but then India has that effect. It is gross understatement to say that it's a crazy overwhelming place!
From the minute you step off the plane, bus, yak, however you get here, you'll know it. Whether you're caught up in maniacal traffic jams, being hauled against your will from one eager tout to the other. Negotiating pavements stuffed with people, farmyard animals, food carts, dog crap, cow crap, human crap! Half laid pavers, paddling through mechanical, joiner's and plater's workshops disgorged from the shop to the pavers to the road - every inch of space is staked and claimed. Plus there is the fun of accessorizing everything to the red beam of your permanently sweaty face.... Mein gott.
Despite some significant leaps in economic growth and major changes within India's social stratum throughout the last 20 years, the frenetic busy-ness of life on the street rages on. Co-existent yet seemingly a distant planet in relation to it's sister world; the monied world closeted behind office blinds, property boundaries and darkened backseat windows, the vibrancy of India's city streets is unparalled in the other countries we have visited during the trip. The latter way of life incidentally belongs to the emergent affluent Indian upper and upper middle classes for whom the action has decisively switched from the outer to the inner. The gulf is wide and widely felt. Nothing hidden, everything on show, all of India's triumphs and disasters, freedoms and injustice hanging out front rather than concealed in the back. It's bloody maddening.