Overland to Bangladesh 1973 – Part 9: Delhi
We reached Delhi in the middle of the afternoon. I managed to get my trunk transferred to Left Luggage by a porter who used a trolley – most unusual. We took a taxi to the Madras Hotel in Connaught Place where I picked up my mail. The hotel was full, however, so we found accommodation in a guest house on Janpath Lane.
I was expected in Delhi by family friends who had offered to put me up. James worked for the United Nations. He was American and Liz was Irish. I found the UN office, but it was a public holiday and so it was closed. I got through to Liz by phone and she gave me directions of how to get to them by rickshaw. She said it was a 15 minute journey. Two hours later I was still being driven round the leafy suburbs by a clueless rickshaw driver. The rickshaw packed up and I paid him off and set off on foot. It was about a mile and half away and I eventually found a man who knew where I was heading and led me to James and Liz’s front door.
James and Liz were very welcoming and I suddenly found myself living in luxury. I spent a happy week with them recharging my batteries before the final leg of the journey to Bangladesh. I had an enjoyable time seeing some of the sights: the Red Fort, the Jamai Masjid, Tugluqabad, the Qutb Minar. I also made contact with those members of the Ashley Butterfield group who were still in Delhi. Their journey had gone well and they were full of praise for Ashley. I also booked my onward journey to Calcutta: air-conditioned chair car in an express.
My overland group had a farewell meal at the Moti Mahal, which served excellent tandoori dishes and beer concealed in a teapot, it being Ramadan. They referred to it as ‘cold green tea’. I also caught up with world affairs. The Yom Kippur War had just started and W H Auden had died.