After a long morning of classes and lecturers, and still not feeling so well, I did not have the energy for an excursion. However, being put on a team for a scavenger hunt did not leave me any choice but to get some energy. Jared, Victoria and I went against the suggestion of taking the metro and instead took a very long auto-rickshaw ride to Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi. The first two items were to go to the Shree Digamber Jain Temple; the temple was closed for the day and we got to just check those two off of the list. As we were coming out from the temple a very persistent, old rickshaw driver convinced us to hire him as a tour guide and he promised he would take us everywhere we needed to go. We were followed and bugged until we agreed, and when we jumped on his rickshaw and saw how much he was struggling to peddle for us, we regretted our decision. Next task: find three more places of worship on the same street. There is a Baptist Church, a Hindu Temple, a Mosque and a Sikh Gurdwara. It was pretty cool to see five different religious places of worship all within a three minute walking distance from one another. We then visited the Gali Paratha Wali where we saw paratha being made. It was quiet interesting and gross to see the amount of people cooking paratha while sitting on a table barefoot. I suddenly had no desire to try one, well not from here at least. Fourth: find a street barber shop and ask how much it costs for a head massage and shaving. 60 rupees for a head massage and shaving; that is less than 1 USD. Without time to waste, Jared passed on the shaving and we continued on to try jelabi; it was a little too sweet for my taste and after a nibble I had enough. Continuing on we parked the rickshaw and made our way to the spice market. Our guide took us through the market and up six very sketchy flight of stairs to a rooftop that looked over all of Chandni Chowk, it was by far the best part of the day. We sat down and relaxed as he told us more about the area and life in India. It was unbelievable looking down on the neighborhood and seeing the craziness from a bird’s eye view. None of us had any desire to move from our perfect location but pressed for time we were forced to continue on. When we reached the street we stopped in a couple of spice shops looking for laung, elaichi and calchini and meandered around until we found the best price. Our last item on the list was to find an Urdu Book shop but our tour guide was just not ready to let us go. Instead he took us through all the side streets that started as the shoe market, then moved into the sari market, the bangle market, the poster market, the food market, the used automobile parts market and eventually ended with the book market. He even let Jared drive!
The day ended up being so much more fun than I ever could have imagined and it was exciting to see a whole new and very different part of Delhi. The streets were packed with people shopping for the Diwali holiday and it was awesome to be part of the action.
For dinner, we ordered pizza at the hotel and had a movie showing for class. We watched Amu, a movie about a young adopted Indian-American woman who returns home to India after her college graduation to trace her roots. The film was filled with a lot of twists and was very emotional. I highly recommend it to learn more about India during the 1980’s up until now.