India

January 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

photo (38)

india2

The photo on the top was taken at the INA (Indian National Army) market, one of Delhi’s largest bazaars, selling mostly food but also textiles. They were selling parts of chickens there I didn’t even know existed, or parts I knew existed but had never seen… like the unlaid eggs in the image above next to the livers with the fat still attached. The air in the halls there was thick, and I was reminded of my first time in a wet market in the Philippines—hanging pig heads and tubs of blood. Queasiness today, as it was on that day balanced with intense curiosity, and a desire to be tough.

I’ve been here for about a day and a half… and my experiences have mostly been centered around food. First meal late lunch at gunpowder (Hauz Khas) chicken korma, a spicy buttermilk, and an intensely spiced lamb dish, then a dinner Chasmere, a new restaurant that served various Kashmiri specialties including a delicious chicken thigh kebab and a chicken cooked in a plum based curry. This morning we had brunch in Connaught Place at Saravana Bhavan – I got a Butter Masala Dosai and Owen got a Thali, then we grabbed dinner at Golcanda Bowl, where we got the most delicious Gosht Haleem (shredded lamb with pounded lentils) served with rumali “handkerchief” roti.

The image below was taken on a Sunday stroll through Chandi Chowk. This was my first time wandering around the bazaar, and it was an incredible day. Most of the stores were closed, save for some street food vendors. Despite this, there were still signs of life everywhere. We followed the sound of loud horns and clanging cymbals to happen upon a barat. We never did see the bride and groom, but huge amounts of food, mostly chana dal and parathas were being doled out to an eager public, and to dogs patiently waiting on the edges of the crowd. I never did figure out whether the little shrine above was a part of the barat. We turned several other corners, to find hundreds of men assembled into dozens of circles. The Jama Masjid, rose up behind them as they sang and beat themselves over the chest. Some men half heartedly patted their collar bones, while the most fervent of them were jumping and reaching high above their heads to blow the greatest self inflicted push into their sternum they could muster. Though some might find this somewhat disturbing, the whole bit reminded me of Filipino, that is to say super fervent Catholicism. It is only in the Philippines where Catholics not only self flagellate but also self-crucify during passion week. Passion week in the Philippines is the only time that the moniker “passion week” made any sense. But I digress… and look forward to seeing more of Delhi.

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