Sophie Goes to India

The following was a dispatch by Sophia Lynn during her recent trip from New Delhi to the Taj Mahal.

Hey, dear……well, we came back after probably 7 hours drive of just 200 km………..big accident with bus coming off the bridge – it completely stopped both directions and they were trying to direct the unruly traffic on just one side that was opened. Crazy, crazy – but at the same time I did not see people getting upset, screaming, tension up – no one was really upset – they were just waiting. Despite people honking a lot at each other, they are not aggressive (again, as russin drivers would), this is just the language of driving on the small 2 lane road with tuk-tuks, animals, buses, heavy trucks, and fast cars – all rolled in one – and all equally share the road. We were amazed that there were not more accidents…………people sleeping in lorry trucks, 10 people riding in one small tuk-tuk. There is also quite a bit of state division so we had to come thru tolls – again, lines and waiting.
 We had a native of Delhi in the car with us and it was an added advantage since he commented a lot along the road. Now we know that Taj is situated in one of the poorest states, so poverty that we saw there was quite intense. Also, big trucks have the signs "Blow horn please" – we leaned that this is something bad, not necessarily associated with actual horn signal 🙂
 What is interesting that despite very high crowdedness, intense huggling, touching, etc. people don’t seem to be agressive.
 Taj – unbelievable crowds first of all – people from all over India come there, they were the majority in the crowds. I developed migrane from bright sun, lowdness of crowds and was not very happy when we were around the Taj. One girl gave me sunglasses and I started feeling better. Yes, we saw the Taj – it is definitely a magnificent structure, beautiful, but looks much more astounding from afar. We also went to the fort where the king who built the mosoleaum lived/was imprisoned by his own son for spending too much money for the Taj…………..he was actually getting ready to build one for himself out of the black marble across the Taj……………
 The poverty level is striking……………..begging is intense especially from white girls, I was constantly holding on to guys to make sure they shield me from all the touching and pushing stuff in the nose (selling trinkets). I felt bad for not giving money but at the same time was afraid to get into the purse.
 Cows are feeding on trash along with wild dogs – since you cannot kill the cow after it becomes obsolete (old), they just let them starve. It is very perverted notion of the sacred animal.


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