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Day 13 – Culture

Culture

A culture clash. A cultural quarter. A cultivation of tolerance. Multicultural, intercultural, subcultural. Govind Puri, New Delhi, less than a square mile cramped with thousands of people, living on top of each other, within feet of each other across the, thirty or so, narrow galis or lanes. Each gali half a mile long or less, a warren of interconnected alleyways, with ramshackle flats and apartments rising above shops and doorways, four or five stories high.
A clash of cultures where old meets new, adverts for gyms and cyber-cafes hanging next to washing drying on the railings and religious flags hung from walls.
A cultural quarter of life on the streets, a myriad of different shops selling everything from bangles to leather slippers called jotis, from food to icons of gods, hawkers walking up and down the galis announcing their wears or services, electric repairers squatting on the path with the innards of motors spilling out in their hands next to clothes pressers sliding their coal-powered irons on tables stacked high with piles of laundry service.
A cultivation of tolerance to others lives, with so many people living on top of one another there has to be a lot of understanding and acceptance as well as ignoring of those lives around them.
Every religion, every area of India and beyond, every food imaginable, all represented for good or for worse.
All this, so many people, so much commotion day and night but so little crime, a safe place to walk, to live, to visit unaccosted, well away from the tourist traps. A pleasure and delight to stroll around, to sit on a step and watch go by while sipping a cup of chai, to gaze down upon from a balcony above. The culture of Govind Puri.

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