Sunday, December 25, 2016
In Cafe Turtle, N Block Market
Like everywhere in this town, it's a dusty, polluted, traffic-infested walk along broken pavement and past squatter's hovels to get here from M Block Market, which is closer to my guesthouse. On a map you'd think it's not that far, but in Delhi, it's not about kilometers, it's about aggravation. Hiring a rickshaw just so you can cross the street is simply annoying. The sun is out after yesterday's horrible gray day, and it's Monday so nearly all museums and historic sites are closed. Last night I read the Indian news section on the BBC app on my phone, and learned that India is second only to China for the sedentary lifestyle disease, type 2 diabetes. I sat next to a very obese Indian guy on yesterday's train from Jaipur. He left me facing a uncomfortable sliver of seat for the 5.5 hour ride back to Delhi. Turns out he was in the wrong seat, and another passenger asked him to move, which he did. That was a relief to me. As a visitor to India I wasn't going to insist on my full share of a seat. I expect to face daily difficulties here. However, I won't say no to someone else providing the solution either. Life isn't going to be easy for him, sadly, because the solutions to his disease aren't easy. God knows, Americans don't easily change their dietary and exercise habits either. Given the trend here towards acquiring bigger and bigger luxury cars being set by Delhi's wealthy residents, it's easy to see that this trajectory is identical to the "out of the frying pan into the fire" scenario prevailing in the USA. Sadly, being forced to ride everywhere in Delhi because it's not safe to walk the short distances is so damned stupid. I wish the Indian government good luck in solving this problem before it reaches the tipping point.