Letter From New York 03 30 15 Safely back in Delhi…

There is one thing I have learned from my times in India. The people drive with cheerful, careless, reckless abandon. After we left the guesthouse at the Indian Institute of Technology in Roorkee, I made sure my seat belt was tightly fastened. As we started down the long road to Delhi, I realized that more often than not we were on the wrong side of the road.

Drivers seem to feel that a steady use of the horn gives them both right of way and immunity. After watching death bear down on me at 60 kilometers an hour once too often, I surrendered to the experience and closed my eyes, saying a prayer and hoping to doze.

Once I opened my eyes to see us just avoiding rear-ending the car in front of us; another time to see us squeeze between two other vehicles on a two-lane road. I closed my eyes again and thought pleasant thoughts about arriving in one piece in Delhi.

We drove past ramshackle buildings that could never have been new and past new buildings that looked old before they were finished. In air-conditioned comfort, I looked out at the faces of people, many smiling in the wonderful way Indians have. Some looked intense but most seemed content, living in the world they did. A woman in a red and blue sari passed me, intent on getting where she was going with her burden of groceries in a bag.

I drifted off again and then, before I really knew it, I was at India Habitat Center, where I will be staying the next two nights before heading down to Jaipur.

An old friend surfaced this morning, via Facebook, and I am going to see if I can get to Goa to see him. I had thought he was living in Haridwar but it turns out he has not kept his Facebook profile up to date and is now in Goa.

Tonight, I will see if I can work that out.

At this very moment, much to my frustration, I am Internet challenged. While it says I am connected, no pages load so I have no connection to the greater world.

The Times of India this morning was bursting with reports about dissension in the AAP, a relatively new party that swept elections in Delhi in the last two months. Two of the founders of the party seemed to have been banished for “seditious” activities. Made American politics seem almost tame.

In Roorkee, I met an Australian named Jo, who now works at the University of Southampton in Britain and who has been on loan to IIT Roorkee for the last six months helping them revamp their administrative policies. She goes home tomorrow and is deeply sad after having become very attached to Roorkee and India.

She, Ron Eglash and I had a spirited conversation yesterday night about the differences between British and American politics at the given moment. She was fascinated and intrigued by the sharp differences right now between Republicans and Democrats. Her feeling is that Tories and Labour in the UK have become too similar though the advance of UKIP, a newish party that wants to pull away from Europe and which is gaining a surprising degree of popularity, frightens her. Jo’s opinion is that UKIP has a racist streak up its spine.

The Iranian talks are coming down to the wire and it may well be there will be no resolution though Iran still says it is “doable.” Tomorrow is the last day of the self-imposed deadline and negotiators seem willing to talk until 11:59:59 PM of March 31st.

The Times of India, which was left at my door at the guesthouse in Roorkee, also reported on the continuing Saudi airstrikes against Yemeni rebels.

It was actually cool when I left the guesthouse and I wore a sweater for the first time since being in India.

Now that I am safely back in Delhi, I look forward to the rest of my time in India. I am hoping I can find a way to Goa to see William, who has lived here since 1969. He was 19 when he arrived and has never really left.

I have plans tomorrow to do some Delhi shopping with my friend Raja and am going to put together a list of people for whom I would like to bring home something. It’s part of the fun of traveling, finding delights for friends and relatives.

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