It is early. So early that the streets of Delhi are as empty as I never saw them before. I leave the house with a big thermos bottle of chai and a long list of warnings of Mrs Rajasthani. Mrs Rajasthani has strong beliefs about such matters as driving alone and speaks to me as if in the countryside dragons would wait to be slain. I wave her goodbye and am astonished how silent it is. Just the occasional boy with a broom crosses my ways, no one is honking and I drive all alone through the still sleepy city. I am not often in downtown Delhi and am always astonished how green Delhi is and Edward Luyten’s plan of big boulevards becomes for the first time truly visible at least for me. The embassy district I cross and I have to laugh out loud while passing by the pretentious Polish embassy. A nightmare of Socialist Realism. A group of boys starts to kick football in the green part that separates the street from the splendid buildings. I still get angry. This waste of space and resources, the waste of water to keep the lawns and the gardens lush and pretty but those, who live here and I we never meet, not in the late and not in the early hours of any day. The highway out of down is empty as well. Just a few milkwallahs, their motorcycles overloaded with the cans are passing by and a few buses, all the passengers are still asleep. Half an hour later, Gurgaon stretches out wide in the horizon. Not only an industrial area or a technological park you see here, but a dream, a dream of a clean and smart India, with skyscrapers and shopping-malls, a dream of a bright and clean future, the New India, whatever this might be. The massive apartment blocks, the dinosaur’s of our days are mist often only half-built, and you never know if this means: to be finished soon or abandoned already. But the names of the soon to be built homes are promising: “Wonderland” has still free ” BHK apartments and “Dreamland” gives you the best offer of your life and “Paradise” fulfills your wishes for smarter living. ( Whatever this might be.) The highway gets fuller now, the trucks are coming, with their loads of bricks and garbage, goods and gas cylinders. I drive through Manesar, a place you won’t find in any travel guide even several thousand people commute between Delhi and the vast industrial zones, every single morning. But I don’t have too much time and still many kilometers to go and so I drive on and on, on the Highway 8, till the land gets flatter, and more dustier and fir the first time since I arrived in India I see cows eating grass and searching for green spots among the shrubbery. In Delhi it seems they solely live out of dustbins. At half past ten I drink a chai in a place along the road and yawn, because soon I will leave the comfortable highway and have to make it through the countryside. The fields are green. Plenty of corn. Kilometers of corn. Then the streets are getting steep and narrow, the car humps up and down, up and down. Kilometers of up and down. Women are carrying large bales of grass and hay, fodder for the animals. Kilometers of women. A truck passes by on its back a couple of black and strong bullocks. Their strong, black bodies glimmer in the scorching sun. At a toll point a lorry pays the fee before me, his car full with onions. Small are the onions and high are the onion prices, when I arrived 40 Rs a kilo, now the kilo costs the double amount of money. Finally the sign to Alwar appears, and 4,5 half hours later I arrive at the small clinic. I unload medications, gloves and gaze in all forms and shapes, and probably most important a water filter. Here you are, says D. and I nod, here I am. We sit on a charpoy outside and I drink cup after cup of the sweet hot tea and listen to the stories of what had happened and what had not happened. Hours later in the hotel I swim in the pool and dive as deep as I can to get rid of the dust and the sand of the road that is everywhere and I am afraid the chances are rather low that I will ever be able to lose it again.
On the road.
Women and their heavy load.
All in black.
Oh, Namaste, Mr Camel. And yourself? Oh, the heat, yes the heat….
The photos are even worse than usual, photographing while driving….