Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Time Travel

Right, so its been ages. I've been traveling the merry month of May, which has a lot to do with my conspicuous absence during the same. It really flew by like a breeze, the last month. It started with my home debating tournament, the SMU Hammers (which I won), reached Bandung Indonesia (where I didn't win) , then flew back to Delhi for an internship (where I still am) and took a week long break to go to St. Gallen Switzerland for afore mentioned Conference (which was indescribably amazing). I've been from torrential rainfall in Singapore to Torrential Blizzards in Appenzel, CH and am now facing 44 degree weather and blazing sunlight while gallivanting around resettlement colonies in Delhi doing field research. I feel like one of them old geezers who's been there and done that and the honest truth is that in the last 30 days, I really have. But now its all over, and my life is returning to a bit of routine, a lot of home food and my summer joys of Aam Panna, Nirulas Ice Cream and Large Breakfasts.

There's this wicked confusion about Delhi, about most third world places. My internship involves fieldwork into a resettlement colony, a fancy name for where they shove people in slums once they tear them down, or shift in refugees once the shelters are gone. In between the tiny roads and houses with little lighting and no water are shops selling television sets, beauty parlours promising great looks and beauty parlour training centres promising to turn you into someone who can promise great looks. The monthly rent is Rs 700-1000 (18-25 USD) yet people all have cell phone lines. They talk a lot about development, and change and how its left behind the poor. I think its strange, its traveling through time without moving at all. The 1950s seem to co-exist with the 21st century, with fancy computer terminals and training centres housed inside dilapidated government buildings. And you look at this and think that something is very wrong here. That its not that people are being left behind by development, but that there's just been a callous ignorance when it came to developing the basics. They blame globalization, but globalization got them cellphones, and computers and television and jobs, easy financing options from GE and SBI. The government just forgot to give them water, power and roads. And guess who gets blamed.