India – Travelogue

india

This was written during my student days and published in Leeds Student.

To be fair, 45ºc is just unnecessary. There’s really no need for such blistering heat – particularly when you’re a ginger fair-skinned Brummie. When I landed in Delhi this summer, India was approaching the end of its worse heat wave in decades. The hot and sticky humidity made my month of backpacking around the North a bit of a sweaty struggle. However, during an unexpectedly productive four weeks of solo travel, I went paragliding off the Himalayas, rafting down the Ganges, took an elephant ride in Rajasthan, joined the patriotic hollering on the Pakistan border, visited 18 cities, survived numerous lethal rickshaw rides, acquired a good few dozen mozzie bites, learnt some Hindi, received endless grillings from curious natives, cultivated an impressive ginger mullet and witnessed all manner of festivals, forts, heritage sites, museums, shrines, temples and ghats. Awesome.

13 rolls of film and 6 hours of video tape later, I looked forward to settling in the cooler Southern city of Bangalore for my subsequent two months of development work. The highly Westernised ‘silicon city’ of the sub-continent, Bangalore boomed in the 90’s, attracting lots of foreign interest and migration – putting a heavy strain on the infrastructure. A portion of India’s 250 million English-speaking-middle-class elite work in the plush high-rise offices, literally on the doorstep of some of the world’s poorest. It is a grim contrast.