tuque /tūk/ n Canadian English, var. toque [19th c. Canadian French, from the French toque, from the Basque tauka] 1 A close-fitting knitted cap, often with a long tapering end or tassel or pompom. 2 fig Something quintessentially Canadian.
souq /sūk/ n from the Arabic سوق var. souk 1 An open-air marketplace. 2 fig A central meeting place for the circulation of news and ideas.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Day One for a new Delhiwallah

Early reflections of the traveller in Delhi: 

On (quite literally) the inimitable auto-rickshaw...
No matter how one judges the comportment, the swiftness and the unbridled combustion of Delhi traffic, the efficacy of the diminutive auto-rickshaw within all that menacing congestion defies all attempts by logic and reason to prevent me from boarding one.

On the cow...
The only thing--machine or organic--on Delhi roads that is by all perceivable evidence not in a hurry to get somewhere is the indomitable cow; so lazily does it move along as to seem almost graceful. From the vantage point of the auto-rickshaw passenger, the complacent cow on the road can only be revered, which is to say that I revere its already established reverence; for I suppose only after many centuries in the rank of honour has the cow earned its own lane in traffic. (I'm also quite jealous of the cow; it's the only thing out on the road not being honked at.)

On a visit to Old Delhi...
The sheer vitality of Shahjahanabad is astounding. Possibly the only thing thicker than the swaths of energetic humanity pouring through the alleyways of this old Mughal city is the invisible cloud of pepper dust emanating from the spice market. To sneeze here is to engage in a perfectly local and ancient tradition!

On shopping for a kurta...
The kurta is a shirt of cotton, linen or silk, presenting itself with the distinctive rounded 'Chinese' collar, available in various lengths, with sleeves to the wrist and buttons to the sternum. It has the unfortunate tendency to make its wearer appear pear-shaped, when in fact that wearer is I. Blue and orange seem to be the colours of the season.

On a brief excursion to a Jain temple...
For a man--in this case a monk--of such girth to spend so many years sitting perfectly cross-legged is suggestive proof of a divine presence. I am sore just reminiscing about his posture. The temple itself is as exquisite as it is secluded; its various shrines are ornamented daily with saffron and rose petals, while its milky marble floors are somehow soft and gleaming. The overall aura is somewhat subdued, for the visitor, by the overpowering and barely sustainable aroma of sandalwood.

On attempting to learn 'Bollywood Dance' my first night out...
'Walk Like an Egyptian' meets a circa-1985 Jazzercise video. Alas, we all know I'm better suited to eating than dancing.

On the culture of food in India...
As explained to me by a new friend here, "Anything which can be eaten, should be eaten, whether by human or by animal. Food is God."

On eating Indian food at least three times a day...
(Can't type; too busy growing fat on paneer, tandoori roti and butter chicken.)

4 comments:

sweetcaroline said...

Love it, Mr. Tuque. If you keep blogging with this level of eloquence, you'll have yourself a devoted reader! - Jeff

Leena said...

What an interesting time you are having so far! I am looking forward to more good reads! Have a wonderful time there and send me some heat!!! lol!

Sarah said...

Your writing is very entertaining! (and interesting) Are you there on vacation or for work?

Madeline said...

You made me so hungry I had to make curried chicken for my dinner.... or perhaps I'll eat it for every meal. So delicious - am imagining India. Love your descriptions and of course your humor!mum