Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Posted by Deeba PAB
A few days ago the hub decided to shake the kids out of their secure bubble, & announced it was time to take a trip into town using public transport. The call was for a trip into the old city here in Delhi, 'Old Delhi, Purani Dilli or the Walled City' as it is also called, and by the Delhi Metro. The Metro has been around for a couple of years yet we hadn’t experienced it. 'Oh NO'… a huge cry rose across the room, both kids looking at me in despair. The hub always feels that the two of them have got too used to being driven around from point A to B, or using the school bus. They have no idea how the transport system works, & how we used to hop on and off buses when we were young. We’ve been on the Monorail in Sydney, MRT in Singapore, Metro in HKG, Tube in London, even the Moscow Metro…but every country is different, and ours is no exception. Hopped onto the train, stumbling around the system initially, but we soon got a hang of things. Though the journey into town was an hour long, it was stress free, in air conditioned comfort, with no crowds etc. Being a really hot and humid day, once out of the train, the heat, humidity & chaos soon hit us. We had stepped into a different world, & the kids just gaped! The walled city has a certain charm of it’s own. Lots of old dilapidated buildings, delicious roadside food (which we didn’t heat because of jaundice, typhoid fears), hundreds of people, cattle, rickshaws ... all sharing space on the road. A happy balance of complete chaos. We had fun sauntering around streets with no names, reaching dead ends, then piling into rickshaws and racing each other, passing the Jama Masjid en route, India’s largest and most picturesque mosque. Screeched to a halt to crowd into a tiny shop dealing with brass ware etc. Was fun to see the kids’ eyes light up… so much to sift through. A shop packed with fascinating bric-a-brac. They wanted everything, the daughter especially who went ballistic and almost needed to be tranquilized. I wanted everything, but then I’m ‘grown-up’, so that’s my perk!! We shopped till the hub dropped, & then set off again. The bait was the food of course! Here the kids were game. Let’s go to Karim’s was the call…a place that found its way into top Asian foodie joint listings, including the Times and BBC guides. To quote from the Time Magazine, 'Travelers in Delhi have a lot on their plate. Mughal monuments like the hulking Red Fort and the elegant Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque, loom above the city's myriad bazaars and the dusty homes of forgotten poets. But no matter how much there is to explore, locals and visitors alike always return to Delhi's most beloved haunt: Karim's. A cycle-rickshaw ride from the Chandni Chowk Metro stop, Karim's is neither soaring fortress nor ancient temple, yet it is an unmissable landmark nonetheless, often filled to capacity with the faithful. This drab roadside dhaba (or eatery) serves up the most authentic Mughlai fare in the city—which is what you might expect considering who runs the place.'The hype had been created before. We conveniently forgot to tell them that it was a glorified road-side dhaba that is famous for its food, not interiors. They were shocked & refused to eat. Hub and me exchanged looks, & told them to wait while we ate, and they could eat at home. To Karim’s credit, the minute the food was served, the kids devoured it like there was no tomorrow, enjoying each morsel.Long day done, early supper enjoyed, and we set off into the setting sun to catch the Metro back home. This time the journey wasn’t easy. We got caught in the holiday rush & were squished like sardines in a can. Crowds like we’ve never seen before, jostling for every square inch. Quite alarming actually, but surprise surprise; the kids didn’t complain. Not once. They just took to it and were quite fancy-free. Not a whine the entire hour of standing with teeming millions, not a whine when there was a power cut for a minute & my heart stopped beating, not a whine till we got back home…WOW!!Lesson learnt - It's me who has to step out of my comfort zone. I confess I was VERY skeptical and doubted this idea would work. Rolled my eyes at the hub when the kids weren't looking. Experience is a great teacher! Kids are so much more adaptable. They just need the opportunity.
This post was written by Deeba
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