Home > Thoughts, Travel > So long and thank you, India

So long and thank you, India

India, Day 46 – Delhi

As I noted yesterday, a taxi to the airport ought to cost 225 rupees (according to Lonely Planet, anyway). This morning, the Indian currency I had left came to 325 rupees in paper money, and 6 rs in coinage. A driver accosted me at the end of Pahar Ganj Main Bazaar and offered to take me for 300; I said OK. I sat in front of his shop while he went off to presumably get his taxi. After a minute or so, I though, Bugger this, and walked over to the taxi stand at the railway station.

The driver who intercepted me there wanted 450 rupees. I started to haggle, and he said something about a new toll. He seemed to accept my offer of 325, laughing when I showed him my remaining cash. He made a point of mentioning the toll, implying that it was incredibly expensive, once we were underway. The taxi went on to an elevated highway – evidently new. The toll point at the other end had a sign displaying the prices for various types of vehicle; I think cars were 7 rupees.

At the entrance to Terminal 2 of Indira Gandhi International Airport, it looked very much like I’d have to queue to even get into the building. There just happened to be a lot of people going into one entrance; I entered elsewhere (a guard looked at my flight details first). The interior here wasn’t terribly impressive – partially under construction and generally a bit aged and grotty; the long ceiling panels were warped.

I found the Emirates counter, then had to backtrack a little and have my backpack scanned and tagged. Then I checked in. I had a bout a litre of water with me, so I hung around drinking that before going through security. There was a bit of a wait here, but the process was reasonably painless – I’d transferred the contents of my pockets to my laptop case. The guard who scanned me told me, ‘It will be better for you if you take off your shoes.’ So I did.

Currently there are about twenty minutes until boarding starts at 10:35 – but I’m sure that won’t start on time. Feeling a little hungry, but I’ll survive.

I’m happy to be heading back to Britain (for however long), but has my trip to India been a success? There’s no Yes or No answer to that – in fact, even Yes and No probably isn’t accurate. While my original plan of three months in the country hasn’t come to pass, a) I’ve been here for a month and a half and that’s not bad, and b) I always had an inkling that I might change my plans partway through – at least, I was always aware that it was a possibility.

The pivotal moment was just after New Year’s. I’d had a really good time with the two American chaps at the New Year’s party – better, really, than I’d expected. Consequently, all the shitty aspects of travelling in India were thrown into (the now legendary) stark relief. I got depressed – too depressed than I ought to have. By the time I got to Delhi I was feeling pretty positive again. The whole sequence of up-down-up was almost bi-polar in its intensity. I think I made about the right decision to come home now; I could have borne a little longer, but three months would have been pushing it.

I’ve visited Delhi, Agra (and Fatehpur Sikri), Lucknow, Varanasi (and Sarnath), Goa (including Margao, Colva and Old Goa), Trivandrum and Mumbai. I probably should have at least gone to Jaipur as well, but I’ve seen a fair old slice of India. I’ve started writing (thank you, Drew). I didn’t do any yoga (my apologies, Savasana) – but I may well look into that in the future. I’ve taken a shit-load of photographs. I’ve kept my blog. I’ve seen one of the world’s most famous buildings (the Taj Mahal) and been on one of its most famous rivers (the Ganges). I’ve learnt more about the world, and, more importantly, about myself (about things I can and can’t tolerate, and how to deal with them … or not, as the case may be).

So, actually, I’m going to spin this as a successful journey. Just not amazing. But then, nothing I do is ever amazing.


Boarding was a slow process. When the queue finally got moving (no section by section announcements here), my hand baggage tag was checked by someone, then a guard looked at my boarding pass and bag tag, then an attendant took the pass and gave me back the stub, then someone else checked the stub and my passport. The plane took off about fifty minutes after it was scheduled to. It was all very Indian.

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