Day 24 – Walk.


Walk at your own peril at Wednesday’s evening market in Govind Puri, Delhi. Stretching nearly a mile along a road normally full of cars, buses and motorbikes, when it’s market day, the stalls sprawl into the road on either side, making the busy road even thinner. Add in to the mix a four hour rush-hour and it becomes hazardous to walk, finish off with an afternoon of monsoon rain storm leaving great, deep puddles everywhere and the going gets hazardous. A walk along the market is a constant hustle and sidestepping assault course around filthy water, meandering by haphazard, jagged edged stalls, dodging madly driven mini-buses and kamikaze motorbikes riding the wrong way up the street. Any moment a car of bus can veer out the way of mid-road obstacles, brushing arms and bags, tapping the legs of the unwary. Manoeuvring along is a quasi-Zen art of having one eye to the left, one eye to the right, one eye in front and one eye behind with the last eye on the ground scanning for puddles, rubbish or metal bases of stalls jutting out. Even then bag-laden shoppers or the impatient, homeward bound, may barge through scattering others left and right, often into the path of close-as-it-can-get traffic.
Just to top it off the occasional cow will slowly chew its way along, unused to any hindrance, being allowed free reign as a religious symbol, ignoring all the hubbub around, or so it would seem. Never stand in their way or, worse, between them and food, for suddenly they become animated, they know how to use their long horns and a swift dig in the stomach, easily lifting feet from the ground, is dispensed. The careless walker left bruised and embarrassed in case some huge faux pas has been made, but it’s alright, the cow is just administering a blessing, say laughing locals before hustling on their way. A blessing the walker could have done without.