Postcard from Old Dehli
The freshness of Barrow’s air, the cleanliness of its streets and its quiet, orderly traffic flow seem a million miles from my present habitat in Daryaganj, a majority Muslim area of Old Delhi . Here the air is full of dust, the gutters filled with rubbish and the roads a chaotic mixture of people, rickshaws, cars and motorbikes with horns blasting non-stop. People sleep on the pavements and the stench from the corner urinals is quite overpowering so all in all it’s very unlike Barrow. However, it does have a lot going for it including the most superb architecture, an immense variety of shops, the tastiest of food and friendly people. It’s a fascinating place and it’s my job, through a guide book, to help tourists not only see the main sights but explore its backstreets and alleyways; for jitty think kucha.
However, having agreed to become the editor of Barrow Voice over the summer I feel extremely lucky to have been able to quickly pass back the baton to Frances Thompson and the BV team for the winter edition. Their co-operation has meant I can carry out a long standing commitment to up-date ‘Old Delhi Ten Easy Walks’ this year. Thanks everyone, especially Frances, very much indeed.
Christmas will be almost upon you when you receive this Barrow Voice. But what will it be like here in Daryaganj? As the area is only about 3% Christian you might think that Christmas passes the area by. However, on the contrary! There’s a general sense of happiness and excitement in the air especially amongst the children as it’s an Indian National Holiday and children of all religious beliefs get presents. Shopkeepers exchange gifts with each other too. Only the strictly orthodox ignore the festival and they are very few. And if you’re staying in a local hotel the dining areas will be decorated, a Father Christmas put in the lobby next to the welcoming marigolds and you’ll get a free piece of honey cake in your room with a greetings card from the manager.
Gaynor Barton Editor in absentia
While the Barrow Voice team was planning the production of this edition, we learned of the death of Parish Council chairman Tony Childs. We will be paying tribute to Tony in our spring edition.