Preparing for New Delhi

Today is my last chance to get everything ready. Always stressful.

I need to empty the fridge and take all the food to Mum that will be ‘off’ when we get home. I will also deliver some books, in case anywhere needs restocking. Mum is by far my best salesperson, I feel she rather missed her vocation in life, she has no fear. Some of my author friends have asked to borrow her, so I am keeping her location a secret.

When we’re in Delhi, if it’s anything like Mumbai, we will have children approach us in the street, begging. I find this very difficult. To refuse/ignore an adult, feels uncaring, but to refuse a child just feels wrong. Very wrong. However, I know that usually, the children are not begging for themselves. They are often ‘organised’ by an adult, who then removes whatever they have received. Apparently, there is now a scam where they ask you to buy them a specific product – milk, or pens for school, or bread. They have a deal with the local shop owner, so when you have left, they return the goods to the shop and then give the returned money to the adult. So, it’s difficult. I’m not very good at ignoring them. I know it’s best for the children, if I give my money to an organisation – Tearfund or Actionaid – and let them help properly. But I still find the ignoring bit difficult. I thought I would buy some sweets, something small, that an adult would have no interest in. I can give those out. This might of course, result in me being swamped by hundreds more children. Which will please husband no end. But we shall see. I will let you know.

We’re flying overnight, so I will arrive exhausted and with a headache. Always difficult to know what to wear: cold drive to airport, chilly aeroplane air-conditioning, followed by sweaty heat when you arrive and sort taxis, drive to hotel. I tend to go for layers and scarves, which double as blankets on the flight and sun shades when we’re there. If I’m honest, it doesn’t work very well. The layers tend to ride up when I shuffle, so I have bulky lumps of clothing all flight, then when it’s hot, I have too many shed layers to carry.Everyone else seems to look immaculate in the arrivals hall – I am the sweaty woman with black rings where her eye make-up has smudged carrying a sack full of jumble. Lucky I’m not a celebrity.

We have just learned that the Indian government has today cancelled all notes equivalent in value to £5 and £10 (so the small  £1 equivalent are fine). No warning given, they are now worthless. Of course, ALL our Indian money, bought in advance for our flight tomorrow is £5 and £10. Am thinking having zero cash could be a problem (not even thinking about how much money we have lost if there’s no way to be reimbursed.) Also slightly worried this might result in civil unrest. For us to lose the money is bad, for a street vendor in India it might be their life savings. Literally. Wiped out in a day, with no notice given. Not sure this is fair, nor likely to have a good result. Oh yes, and they have shut all the cashpoints for two days. Trip now taken on a rather unsafe feel…Do hope to be writing again in a couple of days.

Thank you for reading.

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