Monday, January 12, 2009

Living in New Delhi

We arrived in New Delhi India on 12 January 2009 at around 3am. The flight in over the city gave us a real feel for what we were in for in the form of a thick blanket of smoke haze enveloping the city. It was winter and we had arrived in the middle of the Indian Harvest Festival. What this transpired into for us was equivalent to an Australian bushfire. Exiting the plane onto the tarmac we were presented with an intense, overwhelming and almost suffocating thick burnt air resulting from the locals burning everything in sight. We were told the burning was in celebration of the harvest just being finalised but the Delhi winter temperatures also necessitate the locals burning whatever they can get there hands on to keep warm.

The next shock for us was the car trip from the airport to our temporary accommodation at Svelte Hotel at the Select City Walk Shopping Centre in the suburb of Saket. We were presented with what looked like a war ravaged city in complete disarray, rubble and rubbish everywhere. At this point I was left wondering what had I done and how was the family going to survive a three year post in New Delhi. This was further reinforced when Felix said to me 'daddy what has happened to this city - has a bomb dropped here?'. The whole family was shell shocked and I was desperately looking for a reason, some justification, or at least thread of justification to be in New Delhi. The saving grace came in the form of the Svelte Hotel and surprisingly a shopping mall. For the next month whilst in temporary accommodation these two things allowed us as a family to resume some resemblance of our life in Australia. I suppose you could say we had to adjust in a major way. Life in New Delhi was different, very different and frankly there is nothing you could every do to prepare yourself for picking up your whole life in Australia, your family and your home, your friends and your work and transpose it to a life in New Delhi.