Delhi was not a place we wanted to hang out in. We only went there when we absolutely HAD to and left as soon as we possibly could. It was hustly and bustly. We didn’t know anyone there, so we stayed in some cheap, awful, mosquito infested places.
There were a few reasons for going to Delhi. At times we couldn’t draw money from our bank in Mussoorie. Tony would leave home early in the morning, drive 8 hours to Delhi, get money and drive back late at night. Other times, we picked up visitors and family members, spent the night and then drove back to Mussoorie. On occasions, we drove through the city to go somewhere else.
On Betty’s first visit, we drove down to pick her up and stayed in the YWCA. It was cheaper to get rooms with a shared community bathroom so we got two rooms. Betty knew there was something about Indians bathing with jugs and buckets and not using toilet paper but she was too shy to ask. In the middle of the night, she got confused with the bathroom and the Eastern toilet. We were in hysterics when she asked some questions about it the next morning.
The two places we knew had good food were Nirulas and the Wimpy in Connaught Place. It was such a treat to have Western style food like salads, burgers, French fries and yummy ice cream. If we had spare time we would do some shopping in Janpath which made the whole trip worthwhile.
Winter on Delhi roads was a nightmare. Whenever we travelled, we tried to leave as early as possible to avoid village traffic. There were a few times we forgot about the heavy winter fog. It was so bad, not even the truck drivers were brave enough to take the lead. Visibility went as far as our windshield. Everyone edged their way forward inch by inch, not being able to see the road at all. When the fog lifted for a few seconds, we would find ourselves all over the road, facing in different directions.
Our biggest nightmare trip in fog was in the middle of winter. We were going to Delhi from Mussoorie. We got up very early, not giving a thought to how misty it would be. Tony took the shortcut through Barlowganj and Jharipani. We couldn’t see a thing.
I started to panic and told Tony we should go back. He calmed me down and told me to just keep my eye on the side of the mountain. He would keep his eye on the edge. We were driving very slowly. The kids were still sleepy, but tried to help us stay on the road. For a second I lost sight of the mountain and I shouted, “Stop!!!” Tony slammed on brakes and we all sat in the mist, wondering where we were. Tony put his head out of the window and saw grass. Our jeep was perched on the edge. We were about to go over, headlights first.
We sat there shaking. My heart was pounding and I had had enough of Delhi already. We were five minutes from our house and had 290 kilometres to go. I was ready to go home.
Delhi was dusty, foggy, noisy and unfriendly. There was NO WAY we ever wanted to live there.