Delhi: “Beeeeeeeeeeeard? Beaaaaaaaaaard?”

Purl Interrrupted

Writing from: A Pushkar internet cafe burning too much incense    coughs

In and out of Delhi again, and I find it hard to like. The tourist area we stay in is dusty, dirty, and crusty round the edges. The constant hornblare, the loudspeaker drone and fanfares of all-night public announcement being piped into the streets, cycle rickshaws near-missing your ankles and toes, tasteless but expensive (in comparison with other places) meals in too cold posh restaurants where uniformed doormen ‘namaste, sir/madam’ (hello) you boredly, suave and sly smooth-talking touts accosting you around the Western-flavoured marble-floored ring of shops that is Connaught Place, the CCTV of Rak International Hotel recording you as you sign the register. Not much to fall in love with.

M and I did take a minute in our fly by to visit the Red Fort though, and while it wasn’t as impressive as the guide book cracks it up to be, here are some bits I liked:

The finger-winged birds of prey gliding above the immense orange-red outer wall.

The rust red archways cut into ceilings that looked like bite marks in cheese (how I miss real cheese).

The Red Fort

The Red Fort

Crazily flapping ultra-green parrots, with shiny red beaks, flying across flower-inlaid white ceilings or peeping beadily from ancient cracks in the brickwork.



The flick and flurry of whole handfuls of brave and bushy chipmunks leaping from side to side of the water channels crisscrossing the quiet lawns of the fort gardens.

A giggling river of powder blue school saris flowing down a red-pillared corridor.

A cry of “Beeeeeeeeeeeeeard? Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeard?” outside the fort, that stopped us in our tracks and ended with us haggling for fake facial hair with a small boy who assured us he paid at least 25 rupees whenever he bought his.

Beard boys

Beard boys

The fugitive

The fugitive

So onto the camel-infested lands of Rajastan for us, and a five-hour train to Jaipur, the Pink City…


  1. MarkE
    November 10, 2008

    Just checked in with a very carefully worded, pondering, soul-searching post to you on KC, and THEN bothered to read the bits leading me here answering the many many questions (well, one) I had left at your door, like a small fluffy inquisitive stork-delivered kitten wrapped in a soft blanket of enquiring wooliness. Ahhhhh.

    So with my heap of time off I am sitting around on a sofa with daytime TV and rain for company. I’m not in the least bit guilty or jealous of your ability to swan off round the world like a young female Michael Palin. Looking forward to the DVD you’ll inevitably be bringing out in time to give it to all my friends and family at Christmas.

  2. Steph
    November 10, 2008

    You look like a Spartan from 300, lol.
    Also good to see your effort for Movember!!!

  3. Laura Davis
    November 11, 2008

    You look amazing, keep it on at all times.

  4. Flaneurbanite
    February 21, 2009

    It looks like you stayed in the very seediest part of Delhi called the Old City. It stopped being magnificent sometime around the late 1800’s, which was when the very last of the Mughal (no longer ‘rulers’ since the British had taken on) were surviving in ‘their’ city. I hope you did go around the rest of Delhi and spent some time in the south of the city. You would like it, then. 🙂

  5. Deadly Knitshade
    February 22, 2009

    I must admit we did not see as much of Delhi as I would have liked. Perhaps I will go back one day and see the rest. I am sure it has some lovely parts. I was just a little travelsore by then. 🙂