A Year in Delhi, India

Dinesh Wagle in Delhi local train

Fulfilling my year-long desire today I rode in a local train in Delhi.

Yes, a year has passed. Today marks the first anniversary of my arrival in New Delhi. It was a year ago on this day I had landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport and arrived at B-19, Jangpura Extension to take charge of our one-man bureau. It’s been fun and interesting so far. Something I have learned from the lonely life in Delhi. At the same time there are quite a few things I missed. This is certainly not the first time I have lived away from my family for so long. Initial days of staying in hostel during my primary school days in Dorji School, Boudha were lonelier. It’s a pity there was no World wide Web at that time.

Delhi train ride video

Back in Delhi, I am a grown up man with a responsibility to fulfill. It’s a blessing to me that my work involves not just sitting in front of computer with browsers open but also traveling and meeting new people. Listening to disheartening stories of poor, unfortunate and deprived Nepalis in Delhi is one of the darkest experiences. Exploring the city, having dahi valla in Chandni Chowk and standing at the Parthasarathi Rocks of JNU have been some of the most fulfilling experiences. I would say being at the top of PSR, seeing peacocks singing and dancing and airplanes flying, is the best thing I have experienced in this city this year. That particular moment when I was photographed (by a camera!) at PSR was the best of all. I cherish that moment.

I explored Delhi (though not much, I must admit) and some parts of India this year- from Jaisalmer on the west to Shillong to the east, Jammu on the north to, yes, Kanyakumari, second time, to the south. My India travel, in fact, had started in October last year. I returned back to Nepal from a two-week long south India trip only to return back in less than a month. Delhi was the city that I had skipped in that October trip.

And today, what a coincidence, I did what I always wanted to do ever since I arrived in Delhi. I traveled in a local train (not the Metro, take note of this!) in Delhi that runs from nearby my house here. I boarded into the Local from Tilak Bridge (another place I wanted to go) and got off at Nizamuddin this evening. The train, like many other Indian trains, was packed to its capacity with a vibrant crowd. A group of people were singing some Hindu Hindi vajans (jai shree ram or something to that effect) and the noise, at times, became deafening. That, and slightly longer stoppage of the train for the traffic signal, prompted me to take, first, a few snaps than the video.

The diverse life and culture of India is truly amazing. The railway journeys have been the most fascinating. At one point, it seemed, I would never get tired of traveling in those trains. Everything and I mean it, everything that was inside the trains, that happened inside the trains were amazingly new and first to me. I don’t have enough and appropriate words to describe my train experiences in India.

But it’s not over yet. There’s another year that is waiting for me in Delhi and in India: to travel and explore and, of course, to work. This time it won’t be a lonely trip.

Here I present some of the photos from the months gone by: