Today we had the opportunity to visit Old Delhi for our Design+Photo walk.
Everyday, since almost two weeks now we are taking the auto-rickshaw to go to school and get to see a little bit of the Indian roads. Fortunately today, we have not been stuck in the traffic because of a cow in the middle of the street. We took the metro very early this morning (6 :15 a.m) because of the heat, and finally arrived to Chandni Chowk station.
In Delhi, when you get out from the metro station it is very commun to see beggars or homeless kids. As it was 7 a.m we thought that Old Delhi would not be that busy. In fact, when we arrived, appart from some people lying on the floor sleeping, a lot of them were praying next to an Hindu temple. When we went out from a small path to join the main street I have started to understand that Delhi never seems to be asleep. The unusual « quietness » of Noida early this morning was very different from what I have been facing today…
First of all, people are everywhere but it is much more crowded than any other places I have been to (except from metro station…). The kind of people I have seen were believers (Sikh, Hindu, Muslim) judging by their behavior and outfits. I saw a lot of beggars, rickshaw’s drivers, some kids going to school but what strikes me the most were the concentration of people on the pavement in such a small area. It was very chocking. Those lean people – mostly men – were waiting to be fed sitting in line against a wall. Some others were waiting to be cured by two men. One was preparing injections while the other one was putting some kind of disinfectant on compresses. At the same time those men waiting might have been suffering for hours, days or even months… They were full of bad looking injuries and pus. I have faced poverty before but never that way. It was a very harsh part to see. Later on, while we were crossing the road, I have seen people lying on the street almost dying of hunger. Some others with malformations or amputated.
That is a face of India I guess. Facing extreme poverty and wealth is the everyday life but we are still very affected. I did not want to take any pictures of those people suffering. The only picture I took that shows a big contrast is a poorly framed photo of homeless people sitting on Mac Donalds’ floor. I think it depicts a big gap between the consuming society and the people that earn less than 1 euro a day.
Despite all those sad things I have seen hope, kindness and smiles which I think it is the main thing to remember. They were very inspiring people.
One thing that I have loved discovering today, was people’s outfits. In this strange atmosphere where dust, trash and people coexists, the way people dresses is like a ray of light in the darkness. If you are sensitive to aesthetics which I hope every designer is, you would see beauty in every corner in Old Delhi.
From clothes to shops to patterns, to architecture and even waste, as a designer it is a fantastic chance to get some inspiration.
I found Sikh men extremely elegant with their mustache and colorful turban. Muslim and Hindu women wearing the traditional Indian sari are also fascinating. All those patterns, colors and even jewellery mixed together with the wind and their walking movements. It makes the outfit flowing over their body in a gorgeous way. Muslim guys are looking like European hipsters with their long beard, who knows, tradition might me nowadays inspiration ?
We have also visited the Jama Masjid. It was the first time I have ever been to a mosque. The building is very impressive. The interesting thing about Old Delhi is that all the religions are coexisting in the same area. While you are walking around you can see Hindu temples, Sikh temples, Musjid, church… This contributes to make a very special but peaceful atmosphere.
In the streets, it is such a mess but at the same time everything is so organized. Noise is everywhere as much as smell. Rickshaws, cars, goats, dogs and people are sharing the same road. Merchants of fruits, flowers, people fixing cars or selling meat, everything is in the same space. It creates a beautiful scene of madness.
Different kind of architecture stands in Old Delhi. You can notice sculptures, patterns and vibrant colors all around. Poor architecture from the small shops are juxtaposed to very clean holy places.
This is what I loved about visiting Old Delhi, I have tried to understand those contrasts and to find out how desorganisation can be a form of organisation. It has oppened my eyes on many aspects especially about poverty and made me think that that as a designer point of vue there are so many sources of inspiration through people and everyday life. Possibilities are endless here in India.