The monsoon-crumpled roads of Delhi NCR, had just started being laid over again. Ofcourse, using the “corruption-ridden low-grade tar and road technology“. And then this morning it started raining at about 7.30am. Highly unusual for October.

At 9:15am i decided to put on my “mountain boots” and my poncho, and decided to step out, as the rain refused to subside. A poncho to protect my laptop bag and myself, but “why mountain boots“, you might ask?

Well yes, and here’s why. But instead of writing a long story, on why i did so, let me take you on a visual journey of a day of an average upper-middle class office goer in Delhi NCR, who prefers to use public transport as much as possible. Pictures speak louder than words, they say!

rain-vasant-kunj
You see the two streaks of road amidst the water pool — one on the left, another on the right. I chose the one on the left, as the right was leading me to a largish-pond 6 inches deep just ahead. I had to brave the traffic, with the cars splashing water over me; thanks to my poncho and my mountain boots, i managed to wade through it all.
Ah, i usually catch a bus or an auto to the Metro station — about 1km away from my neighbourhood. But ofcourse, 9 out of 10 days the 1km stretch is usually jammed with morning traffic rush. With the downpour it was not even moving; so there wasn’t any point getting an auto — walking would be faster.
same-metro-when-it-rains
As i reached the metro, this slush is what i had to walk through. Now you surely must understand why i wear my mountain boots!
vasant-kunj-road-when-not-raining
You must be saying, it’s the rains — India receives too much rainfall in a very short period, and that i am just a complaint-box. But, this is what i have to walk through even when it is not raining. My black office leather shoes are usually brown with dust by the time i get to the metro station. And yes the road on the left is blocked as usual, which is why i walk most days. The air, if you notice in this picture, was filled with dust and smoke, and i usually cover my nose-mouth-face with my handkerchief, to minimise the impact on my lungs.
getting-to-metro
And this is what it looks like on an average non-rainy day. Not bad, eh?
open-gutter-cp
Well, the metro ride is amazing, just a little over-crowded, but no complaints. Then i walk along the pedestrian pathways towards our office. And this open man-hole (and the entire row of these) has been open for as long as i can remember. They are just about 30 feet deep, with electricity cables running within, covered with polythene and paan-spit.
But you know, i think they are testing us to check out if we are appropriately wakeful and alert. All in good public service and good intent!
broken-cp
I managed to get past the open gutters but realized i wasn’t too alert. So decide to buy myself a Coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts. And ahoy!, they had dug up the pathway — which they had just about managed to complete after a delay of 3.5 years and several warnings and fresh deadlines from the Honourable Supreme Court of India. Anyway, i stepped right into the cafe on the left.
With my coffee i stepped out, and the traffic signal had failed. There was a mentally unstable man, shivering in the rain. Unable to bear the plight of the good soul, i gave up my Cappuciino to him, to try and find him solace and warmth for some time. I did not take a picture. 
chandni-chowk-monosoon-rains
But you know, i must be at utter jackass, complaining about broken public services delivered to me in New Delhi’s posh Vasant Kunj area, and CP — central Delhi (where there are no power cuts; thanks to the common electricity link with Lutyen’s Delhi).
This is what my father has to deal with during a regular monsoon day in old Delhi. The purple door that you see across the pool of overflowing “sewage water”, is his shop/office. I was filling in for him (as i a few days during the year have to do). But i was prepared with my “mountain boots”. My father, and his employees do not own a pair yet.

 

The rest of the journey back home on this exceptionally rainy October evening, is probably not important. You get the drift of what it is like to get past an average day! It’s not just the rain, it just made it a little tougher.

And you know what — i am still an upper middle class guy. I “have” a choice to spend 3-4 hours on the road commuting between work and home — i don’t exercise that choice. Most of Delhi lives in pathetic conditions. Their daily life looks a lot worse.

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