And so to bed…

Delhi street

Delhi street (Photo credit: April_May)

It has been a hectic week in Delhi.

A trip covering about 30 degrees of latitude and 60 degrees of longitude. From 58.7057° N, 15.7674° E to 29.0167° N, 77.3833° E and back.

I first lived in Delhi in the 1950’s and the city has grown out of all recognition. Size and population and traffic have exploded. The infrastructure has only just about managed to keep pace. (Considering the rate of growth that itself is no mean achievement.) Every home boiled water then and uses water purifiers today. You were subject to sporadic loss of power then and now put up with regular “load shedding” (as demand side power management is called). But inverters and generators are common and the urban Delhi dweller can “make do”. He has to – he has no choice.

Delhi Urban population – newgeography.com

The same “standard meal” (a bowl of rice, 4 chappatis, a bowl of lentils, 2 servings of vegetables and a small bowl of yogurt) costs Rs 30 ($0.50) from the street vendor, Rs 60 from the roadside dhaba, Rs 70 from the office canteen and about Rs 800 at an upmarket hotel restaurant. But mangoes from Uttar Pradesh were in season and mangoes and papaya everyday for breakfast was refreshing. And my hosts were kind enough to pack 10kgs of mangoes I could bring back with me.

But the weather – to my perception –  is no different now to what it was back in the 50’s. I went from about 20 – 25 °C and showers in Sweden to about 28 – 35 °C and monsoon showers in Delhi. I could wear essentially the same clothes in both places but an umbrella was a necessity in Delhi. Heavy monsoon showers led to water logging of roads in the 1950’s just as they do now. Wearing socks is not advised when water logging is expected and it was a relief to avoid socks not just in Delhi but for the entire trip. And ties and jackets are not needed in Delhi.

Business meetings didn’t really get started till about 1030 (even if they were scheduled for 0900) but they usually continued till about 8pm and sometimes longer.  Four days of that was exhausting – but that’s probably just my age catching up on me.

The air travel went to schedule everywhere but travel is no longer the fun it used to be. The airports at Delhi and Munich and Frankfurt and Stockholm all functioned as they should. But the security checks were a pain. I am convinced that they do no good – except psychologically for some passengers. They are now being perpetuated by the manufacturers of X-Ray and scanning machines and governments which must find jobs for their idiot populations. Security staff are required to follow protocols blindly and not to exercise their minds. And why do the Frankfurt airport security staff take such pleasure in harassing exhausted and confused old ladies probably travelling for the first time? I doubt that these security checks are of any use in actually identifying a determined and ingenious terrorist – and of course the security industry does not have any performance targets to match. In fact the greater the nuisance they generate the more they can “prove” they are doing their jobs. But the security industry is able to get away with inconveniencing the vast majority with impunity. But it actually only proves how inefficient they are. An industry built on fear and not on showing its value. A case perhaps of snapping your fingers to keep the elephants away.

For user friendliness I would rank – in order of effectiveness with politeness- the airport security as follows:

  1. Stockholm
  2. Delhi
  3. Munich, and a long way back
  4. Frankfurt

Of course it is holiday time and the airports were packed. The distances between gates when making transfers seems only to increase. Being “user-friendly” is no longer anything that is of interest to airports, airlines or security and immigration staff.

It is nice to be back home and it will take me a day or two to unwind.

And so to bed…..

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One Response to “And so to bed…”

  1. A Collection of Musings Says:

    Really? Delhi airport security is possibly the worst I’ve ever encountered http://acollectionofmusings.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/the-indian-airport-chronicles-delhi-edition/

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