Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Paharganj

Paharganj, New Delhi. We went here recently to buy some clothes or fabrics (can't remember what kind) for Nitoli (aka Susanna) and our friend Mirva. Paharganj is the undisputed backpacker district of New Delhi, although it is not really a match for other Asian backpacker districts such as Thamel in Kathmandu or Khao San Rd. in Bangkok. There is neither night life, nor restaurants, nor entertainment options to match those other areas. It is also quite congested and dirty. It is however also an interesting place to do some people watching. In the picture above you see the Main Bazaar.

The girls enjoying drinks at a rooftop restaurant. This is the best way to escape the crowds and smells but still be able to keep an eye on what's going on.

Nitoli.

Mirva, our friend from the Finnish Embassy.

Sikh man buying peaches.

Another fruit vendor - this time selling mangos. And an old lady begging while everyone ignores her.

Lady feeding a bull. Look at those horns! Huge.

On the way back from Paharganj we passed this giant temple built in the shape of Hanuman, the monkey god. This picture was taken from the rickshaw, but I will go back and take some proper pictures from the side walk one day.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Thesis Stress & Miscellanneous Delhi Pictures

So, I haven't updated my weblog for a while. The simple explanation is that last-mad-dash-towards-the-finish-line-thesis-stress has gone into the red field. I simply don't have too much time to fool around online (not that I don't do it anyway), so from now on updates will be a bit more scarce until I finish my thesis. Please be patient with me. Oh, in case anyone is wondering I am writing about "Contemporary Energy Related Indian Foreign Policy". The process has been a bit of a mess but at least I'm starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.

In the spirit of disorder I here show a random bunch of pictures taken over the last year or so, with no other unifying theme than the fact they were all taken in Delhi:

A parakeet amongst purple flowers.

Another parakeet outside the hole in a tree serving as a nest for her chicks.

Mughal tomb in Lodhi Gardens.

Susanna at another old Mughal-era monument in Lodhi Gardens.

Same day as above. Susanna poses by the huge bamboo.

Some weird form of bee hive. They look very different from the round, closed ones we have in Europe.

One of the many guys bringing fresh vegetables to people's door. This picture was taken from our terrace.

Still on our terrace, Nitoli (aka Susanna) is setting the dinner table.

Seated and ready to eat...

The huge old colonial circle arcade Connaught Place has gotten a serious facelift over the last few years and have become a popular place for Delhiites to hang out in the evenings.

Or you can go hang out in one of the city's many new malls.

An ruined car of the iconic Indian Ambassador line stands abandoned at Nagaland House.

A portrait of Sarasvati, who comes every day and helps us with cleaning and cooking.

And finally a slightly gory image, which never the less illustrates perfectly why geckos are generally liked in India. They do no harm to humans and they help keep insects and pests under control. One night as I was sitting on the computer I heard some noise from the kitchen and went there to see this struggle with the Gecko trying to eat a struggling cockroach. The gecko won... next morning we found the headless body of the cockroach on our kitchen table. Circle of life...

Friday, 20 July 2007

My Time to Shine on the Big Screen

So I will finally get my cinema début! Well that is... I might - if they haven't cut me out of the movie. I don't know really. Anyway this is my movie, "Speed":

The background story is this: When I was in Bombay almost a year and a half ago I was recruited on the street to be an extra in a Bollywood movie. My most faithful readers (which is probably Nitoli and my mother) might remember my post from the Bollywood experience.

So I had kept looking for the movie to come out, but since I wasn't able to find any info on it I assumed the project had been axed. But now the movie is actually premièring in Indian cinemas on 22 August. It's a classic Bollywood thriller with song and dance and a plot, which is allegedly suspiciously close to Hollywood movie "Cellular". The guy to the far left in the poster, is the villain who apparently is my boss in the movie. He was the only of these guys I saw on set.

Can't wait to see if I made the final cut...

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Delhi by Night: Monsoon Thunder

As a conclusion to my little Delhi-by-night series, I'll show some more recent pictures related to the coming of the monsoon, the annual arrival of the rains. We've been having quite a few glorious storms, such as the one in the picture above. We crawled up on the roof to witness this thunderstorm, which was occurring so far away that we could not hear it, but it was still powerful enough to light up almost the entire sky, and although the whole thing was partially hidden by the clouds, we did also see the occasional lightning bolts rip through the sky. They are not easy to catch on camera though, but on the picture above, there are two lightning bolts to be seen if you look carefully. That picture is more about that special purple light, which the powerful forces of nature can create.

Another lightning bolt caught much closer and thus appearing larger. This one was close to hear and shortly after taking this picture I decided to go inside rather than risk my life taking more pictures.

Yet another scene from the terrace, with two major bolts of lightning simultaneously lighting up the sky.

A picture of the apartment taken from the terrace during a lightning storm. Now doesn't it just look nice and cosy? Susanna has put a lot of effort into getting good lamps with a nice soft light for our apartment - something which is not too easy to come by in India, where most people use either fluorescent lights or bare light bulbs to light up their homes. If you enlarge and look closely you might be able to spot Susanna through the Window.

By the way I have decided that from now on I will use Susanna's sema (tribal) name, Nitoli, which is the one she was given from birth.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Greater Kailash by Night

As second part of my Delhi by Night series, I'll just show a few night shots from our own residential colony, called Greater Kailash, part 1 (Or "GK-1" for short). All of these pictures were taken back in November.

A wonderful orange, winter sunset taken from our terrace. Night is falling...

A few people enjoy the silence at the local E-block park in an athmospheric November night's mist. Right now with temperatures permanently over 30 degrees we can only dream back to those cool, winter evenings. The park is very nice and well kept, even if a little tacky with windmills and animal figurines spread around.

The adjacent play ground lies deserted, also a cold and misty November night.

Susanna burning some fireworks in celebration of Diwali. I really like how it looks almost like she is holding a magic wand, about to release some powerful fireball.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Delhi by Night

For a while now I have focused on travels around India and Nepal. Now it's time to focus a bit on the city I live in: Delhi. I'll show some pictures taken over the last year, starting with a thematic series covering Delhi by night. First look is at some popular outings in Delhi.

The great memorial, India Gate, which stands at the end of the magnificent boulevard of Rajpath. Built by the English, it commemorates the Indian soldiers who died fighting for the allies in WWI and the Afghan Wars. Saluting this monument was popularised last year ago by the great Bollywood superhit Rang de Basanti (रंग दे बसंती / Colours of Patriotism), in which a group of young Indian people - inspired by the Indian mutineers fighting British rule in the 1800s - take on the corrupt, political establishment of India. I recommend Rang de Basanti to anyone who is interested in seeing a good, modern Bollywood film.

The India Gate park is a popular place for family outings in the (relatively) cool Delhi evenings. For that reason it is filled with salespeople offering baloons and various light effect toys.

At the other end of the Rajpath boulevard the English built President's palace looks imposingly out over its capital city from it's elevated status on Raisina Hill. The whole boulevard oozes with power and authority

The fairly recent Hindu temple of Birla Mandir (also known as Laxminarayan Temple) , which is a classical example of modern north Indian, Hindu temple architecture. Actually there has been a temple here for many hundred years, but most of what is seen today is built in 1900s.

A busy market at night time. In India after sunset is the time to go out, since days tend to be too hot except for in the height of winter. A lot of people are trying to get refreshments from a popular drinks-snack stand.

Colourful textile shop in the same market.

Finally wonderful decorative lights outside the popular Dilli haat market with selling arts & crafts and food from all over India.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Portraits from Mata Mela

Last time I showed some pictures fromt he festive and colourful, but also rather gory Mata Mela. Now it's time for a few portraits of some of the many spectators who followed the event.

The Mata Mela is one of the big events of the year in this neighbourhood, so everybody put on their best clothes. These are not rich people with much money tp spend on luxuries, but they still find the funds for pretty dresses and jewellery for their girls, such as these three charming young ladies.

Local kid being carried it he parade. Notice the black mascara which is common to put on children in India.

Boy helping out with the carrying of the Deity. The orange stick he is holding is for placing the deity's carriage on, whenever the carriers need a rest.

More pictures of the local children, from the very young to the bigger ones:




And a couple of really old boys:


And finally one of the heroes of the day, after the pierced trident had been removed from his cheeks. He still seemed to be a bit shocked: