Au Revoir, Rajasthan. Bon Soir, Delhi!

Freshly arrived back in New Delhi, Midnight

Every nerve in my body is so vacant and numb,
I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from.
Don’t even hear the murmur of a prayer
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.

Bob Dylan

Can’t say I’ve been looking forward to the return to Delhi. I actually really enjoy many elements here—mostly, the people I work with and my little circuit in town. But man, the air, and the noise.

I remember my first visit here: 1998, before they switched the massive bus fleet and many of the little motor rickshaws over to CNG—the largest compressed natural gas fleet in the world, or so it is proclaimed. The air was demonstrably worse then, amazingly—but still, it’s heinous today. Landing here a few (impossibly long) weeks ago, I got clobbered pronto by the assault. I hope I’m more acclimated now. (Hm, or do I?) Time will shortly tell.

For now, though, I’m just happy to be alive, after running the gauntlet of the Jaipur-Delhi highway. Phew. One tiny little sardine can car with no apparent shock absorption, a driver kept waiting too long by my day running late, the sunset rush out through the canyons between the Jal Mahal and the Amber Fort and the starkly bloated carcass of a massive water buffalo, an after dark tire blowout remedied by pausing in full traffic along the far lane on the Highway of Doom to change to a tire with wire mesh showing through it’s last shreds of rubber: stir and swallow whole, no chaser.

So, it’s good to be here, in one fleshy piece!