Saturday, October 8, 2011

Madam, let me help you!

Oh please don't! These are the 5 scariest words you can hear in India, especially around Connaught Place. How did I forget that? Especially in CP? Let me explain.
Yesterday I had to achieve 2 things only, which is 1 too many but there you have it. First, change plane ticket dates for return to the 'du, and second, go to Mr Gopal the tailor in Khan Market.
1.Since the tickets were booked online with Jet, go to Jet website. Discover unable to change online. Ring office, spend 25 minutes on the blower to get them changed BUT I have to go into their CP office to pay $10 to change my ticket but not Robin's as mine was a different fare but we are on the same booking and paid the same price, to travel on the same dates, go figure. OK so far, considering.
2.Decide to combine shopping trips and go outside to find the driver. Madam, says the chowkidar, not here. When is he coming? I don't know. Fine, go back upstairs grab material, passports etc etc and walk up to the shops to get an auto to the metro. Cos I learnt my lesson about walking there the other day when I almost melted. On the way to the shops I see an elephant complete with mahout gossiping to the ironing man on the corner - the mahout was gossiping, not the elephant.
3. Descend into metro and decide to buy a Smartcard (yes NSW transport, even India can manage to have them!!!)and while I am at the service counter I hear manic screaming coming from the escalator gliding up from the platform. There appeared an elderly Muslim gentleman and a younger thuggish fellow who were going at each other and the elderly guy was really giving it to him. There were some cops and security trying to separate them, and finally they got them into the glass room where all we could see was the old guy trying to strangle the young bloke. Tickets please!
4. Finally got on the metro and managed to get a seat. Win! However, when I went to get off at CP with about 10,000 others the crush was unbelievable. The people getting on don't wait for those getting off, and there was a poor disabled fellow in front of me who was getting seriously stomped as he tried to get off. So I stuck my elbows out, started screaming and made like a crazed chicken flapping my way out, trying to help this poor chap get out.It was a very attractive sight, but even after he managed to get out people trampled him and he ended up on the ground with people just running over him. Delhi people are SO rude.
5. This is the fun bit. CP is 3 circles, and you need to know which one you want, or which block. I thought I wanted G but I really wanted P or something like that. Now, CP is where all the gormless recently arrived foreigners hang out (a bit like Circular Quay at home) so any foreign face is fair game. I had forgotten this. As I wandered around in ever decreasing circles, about to disappear up my own backside, a fellow offered to help. Yes madam Jet airways come I will show you. And promptly led me to a carpet shop. Oh look I said Jet Airways also sells carpet. He didn't get the joke .I set off again only to have someone take me to their friend's travel agency trying to sell me a ticket to Agra. No thanks. Then someone said his brother had a nice jewellery shop and perhaps I should just go there and avoid all these bad fellows trying to sell me things!! Finally I stood there shouting at the guy saying Gandhi ji would be appalled at their behaviour (that usually stops them) and he showed me where Jet airways was, and he was right.
6. Back to the delights of the Delhi metro with tickets in hand, but no carpet or jewellery, still carrying my large bag of fabric, headed for Khan Market, change at Central Secretariat for the violet line! Luckily the tailor was IN and I dropped of my frocks to copy, my material and my measurements. He isn't sure if he has the machine for jersey, but he knows someone who does. And for about $300 all up, material plus tailoring, I will have 4 new dresses and some kurti shirts. Next Wednesday I go back for fitting etc. Fingers crossed. I then did a spot of luxury shopping: a 4 point universal power board, peanut butter, jam and biscuits. Then I went to Chona's to reward myself with a walnut brownie with icecream (soft serve no less!) and chocolate sauce. But don't you want any food madam? asked the waiter. Oh no, this IS food I said!
7. The trip home in the Ladies Carriage was horrific. It was very crowded, and not just with ladies. There were some most unsavoury fellows in there ogling (eve teasing it's called here) the women, and rushing into seats when women were standing, so one local lady took such exception that she started chastising them for their rude behaviour. She then pointed at me and I believe she was telling them how bad they make India look to foreigners. Fair point madam. After she got off and the carriage got more crowded one of these boys moved near me and was staring at me, I ignored him so he stuck his hand on my upper lady parts. I gave him a slap and offered to take him to the police. He didn't want to go.
8. I got home and had a drink. Then I had another. Then Captain Ashram came in looking all radiant and asked if I knew anyone interested in ecological sheep washing. Time for another drink.
Go the Wallabies.

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