New Delhi: a slightly different beast

Old DelhiWhile Old Delhi can best be described as a cacophony of congestion and craziness, New Delhi reeks of old money and British Heritage. It is an exceedingly wealthy area. Mansions, obscenely ostentatious government buildings, manicured lawns with colourful dahlia beds, and monuments to kings long dead dominate the urban landscape.

In amongst this development poverty can be clearly seen. Beggars lining up for free food, makeshift tents made from dirty tarpaulins that aren’t makeshift. Grubby children with bright eyes performing acrobatics for tourists for a few 100 rupees. Piles of rubbish are everywhere and dogs and people sort through it. Men urinating in the street.

Our guide, Indira, said that while the perception of India is a rich elite and lots of poverty, there is a growing middle class. Education is highly valued, becoming a doctor or an engineer is the ultimate aspiration, and as such, there is stiff competition for university entry.

I did see two odd things in Delhi: an elephant and a naked man walking along the main road. The elephant was working, and by working I mean loaded up with goods. And I was informed by Indira that the naked man was a beggar, probably with mental issues, and not a member of the Jain religion.

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