Sunday 2 November 2014

Day 166: Delhi - India's Mission to Mars

On our way out of Pushkar, Guy started enthusing about the Indian probe due to enter Mars orbit that day.

Hopefully India's space probe is better finished than this truck!
"You know about this?  Do you think it will be successful?" he asked our driver.  The driver punched the air.

"Modi, he's a strong guy!"

We had not seen him look this happy all week.  Clearly he belonged to the fan club of India's new prime minister.

A short while later we were telling him about the rest of our travels in India including the Wagah border ceremony in the Punjab.  The word 'Kashmir' was only a breath away; someone had to mention it.  We left the job to our host.

"On the border in Kashmir, Pakistani soldiers cut off the hands of Indian soldiers," he told us.  "I don't know why they do this.  Pakistan is only a small country.  We have a bomb that could wipe them out."

Guy's eyebrows almost joined the Indian space probe in Mars orbit, as did mine.  It was only nine o'clock in the morning and we appeared to be discussing nuking Pakistan.

The conversation did not last much longer - not by accident.  The rest of the journey passed quietly with the exception of a collective sigh when we saw the first bovine car crash victim of our trip.  The carcass straddled two lanes of motorway, a brighter red than any Indian bus, flanked by torn metal and flaking paint.  But why?  It's fine for cows to roam freely on roads.  It's also fine to build high-speed motorways.  But I remain to be convinced that you can combine the two.  A week of swerving wildly to avoid cattle has made us rather impatient of this.  The only surprise was that the steak joint on the highway, gutted by fractured glass, was the first we had seen.

Re-entering Delhi returned us to a familiar routine, as we have passed through the city four times so far on this trip.  Now for yet another short stay in the bustling, crazy, chaotic world of the capital.

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