Susan's sketchbook log: India


Sunday at the Friday Mosque

Chandni ChowkAt Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque), the non-Islamic foreign women have to don coverings. What they give us are like bad flowered tablecloths with long sleeves. Somehow, my long-sleeved t-shirt and jeans seem more respectful of Allah than this get up. I am reminded of a 1970 trip to the Vatican, when a friend and I went to the trouble to wear a skirt, with a hem -- okay -- a tad above the knees, were shown the exit by the Vatican guards, and had to go back to the pensione and change back into jeans.

Sanjay's lecture on the site draws a crowd, who stare not at us but at him speaking English. We're told that although it's one of India's official languages, only 10% of Indians speak it. In fact, for most, their mother tongue is not even Hindi, but rather the local language of the state. For example, the greeting Namaste here in Delhi will change later in the trip to Namaskara in Kerala, where the language is Mayalam.

Jama Masjid

I draw fast to capture a lovely view from the Mosque of the Red Fort (below), which Shah Jahan had built as a duplicate to the Agra Fort.

Leaving Jama Masjid, we get into rikshas (rickshaws) for a quick ride. Chandni Chowk runs through the middle of the walled city of Old Delhi. In most of the little side alleys, even this vehicle (one of 50 different types of vehicles on India's streets) would be too wide to get through.

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