The previously spoken of study in Kalkaji had no windows and it was dark. Tony was like a caged lion.
His study in Mussoorie had been light and bright and just a few steps away from a beautiful forest. He would spend hours walking through it singing, praying and spending time with God. There was fresh air, space and peace.
Now, early every morning, down on the hot, sweaty plains, Delhi shouted, “This is what I have, now show me what you’ve got!”
The loud speakers from the nearby temple blared out all hours of the night and early hours of the morning so we didn’t get much sleep.
When we walked to our car we had to fight off street dogs. We also had to step over the plastic-bag-food-bombs people had thrown over their balconies for the dogs.
Tony was convinced everyone was attacking him. He got angry and frustrated within minutes of driving in our very congested, narrow market road. Parking anywhere was an issue. There were also days while driving that I felt everyone was trying to kill me. We didn’t just have to look left and right, we also had to look up and down. We could never tell which direction something was going to come from. Biggest went first. We learnt quickly that lane driving was insane driving. If you stayed in your lane you just wouldn’t survive, let alone get anywhere.
Traffic lights were a new phenomenon for us. It seemed they were new to Delhi drivers too. Red meant go, yellow meant go and green meant go. People would be honking no matter what colour the light was.
Delhi was Tony’s battle field.
He took it upon himself to put straight everyone who broke a road rule.
One day someone cut in front of us. Tony chased him down, got in front of him and stopped. An argument ensued and Tony got back into our car. As we drove off in a cloud of frustration and heat, I commented half jokingly,
“Well done Tone. 1 down, 1 billion to go.”
PS. It took Tony five years to love Delhi. It happened in Spring while he was driving towards Sri Fort. The road was lined with Amalta Trees (Or Golden Shower Trees) and he saw the beauty of the city for the first time. He still struggled, but the heaviness of living in Delhi lifted that day, and he was more than grateful.