Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Beautiful Delhi Flora


I was recently in the capital to attend a conference on the value-based management practices inspired from India's spiritual heritage.  I came to the city with a certain apprehension based on the many media stories surrounding the recent attacks on women as well as a sense of shame from its leaders who are not able to take a firm stance in the face of these most horrific events.  Delhi, a city of rapist, Delhi a city of misogynist, Delhi capital of all that is shameful and ugly in the Indian man.  So it was with a pleasant and refreshing outlook that I discovered a city that is much more than what the recent media has painted it to be.  From its most efficient and luxurious metro service, to its colourful fauna and its love of arts, I found Delhi to be a grand old-lady that is striving to rejuvenate itself.
Yesteryear Ambassador parked on the road side.
My first encounters with Delhi in the mid-2000s was one of heritage of a glorious past with beautiful architecture, spacious roads and a love of antique monuments preserved neatly behind manicured lawns.  The Delhi I found today inspired in me an image of an island in north India aspiring to modernity under attack from forces of obscurantism that try to stop her relentless march forward.  Taking the world-class metro service on a daily basis to attend the my conference in Delhi University, I was surprised by the beauty of Delhi women and their sense of dressing.  Being a Frenchman and having worked and travelled in countless European capitals, I have come to appreciate the sense of dressing that Parisian woman display, often regarded as epitomising women beauty in Europe.  I can say that Delhi women have nothing to envy to their Parisian counterparts.  Their sense of dressing at times took my breath away, simple, elegant and detailed down to the shoes and accessories, yet not loud.  Sri Aurobindo, a great Indian seer, talks of the importance of looking after our bodies, of dressing it with care, for he champions the idea that the body is a living temple of the Divine.  Delhi women are beautiful temples.

I Touch a face and it murders me
Of course, one may argue that my perception is a skewed selection effect of the metro's flora, and no I am not mistaking with the fauna, I mean the flora, for surely Delhi should treat its women like an ardent garndener, with love and tenderness. What would be mankind without the love of women. 

On my last day, the conference ending early, I whiled my spare time with a visit to the Delhi Art Galley in Haus Kaas, coming across one of its artist on display, Amitava, I was startled by a canvas painted back in 1989 which expressed with distinct clarity the essence of the feeling of violence that Delhi inflicts on its women.  The painting was titled "I Touch A Face And Suddenly It Murders Me".





Artist are no different to scientist, they too seek to describe the world, only the language differs.
Leaving Delhi to return to my south Indian home, I reaslised that the changes Delhi is going through, its modernisation, love of art and heritage, and an aspiration by its women to be beautiful can only reflect a deeper sub-conscious and latent aspiration of a city striving to sustain its glorious past while embracing the future.  It will take time for the men to learn to respect and love the contribution of woman to this world, but it is ironic that behind such shameful and careless men lie a mother that has spoilt her male-child, and so it is important that women too take responsibility and change the way men are brought up in our society.
People actually queue in the crowded metro stations, a first in India!
It is surprising the number of peddle rickshaws that ply the small streets of the older city
An other pleasant surprise is the introduction of electric shared autos
Always a lemon juice vendor on the crowsded street corners