Sikhs Do More Than Feed People

Arriving in Delhi after 18 hours on the Rajdhani Express, James and I donned our packs and stumbled off the train. We both looked left, looked right, and followed the rest of the riders left on the assumption that we’d find an exit. Correct! At the very edge of the non-railway world, we paused before stepping out. We had seven hours until our train to Chandigarh, and though we were weighed down by our bags, we wanted to see something of Delhi. I had read through the highlights in the Lonely Planet and was most interested in Humayun’s Tomb, Connaught Place, and the Qutb Minar. So we forged our way into the crowd. As soon as my foot touched the top stair outside, the touts got started. I was not surprised, but fought to remain clear enough not to feel overwhelmed. You’d think that being a head taller than them would give me all the confidence in the world, but being unsure of my bearings gives me a vulnerability that is visible. Masking it is a matter of finding a direction as quickly as possible. I haven’t yet been intimidated, just half-drowned, as though covering for a teacher in a raucous kindergarten class. My usually effective headshake and repeated nonononononono didn’t discourage them, but it did keep them from stopping me. Finally, we got to the line of taxis and saw a person who seemed reasonable. After a brief negotiation for three hours of touring, we told him he was ridiculous and that we wouldn’t pay his fee. He just nodded seriously. Another man, who had remained beside me and who smelled of licorice, said not to pay him. “Go to tourist office,” he said, pointing out the place with a sign reading, of course, Tourist Office. We nodded and[…]

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