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lovely days in delhi

praise God that the past few days have been a return to living life out loud in delhi. here's the round-up.
Thur: i joined some of the AIF Fellows for qawali (traditional music performance shown at left) at the Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah which occurs every thursday evening and has been on my "must see" list for a few years. behind the singers shown seated, there is a room with a screen of chiseled marble. a woman's shrieks caught my attention towards the end of the performance. the woman clawed the marble screen as she screamed and convulsed, her long hair flying as she whipped her head from side to side. dargahs are meant to be safe places for struggling women to let loose their proverbial (or very real) demons. the dargah was a massive convolution of people from various countries and religions (many devotees came to pay homage to the Sufi saint, Nizamuddin, enshrined there). we removed our shoes at the entrance and followed a labyrinthine marble path into the shrine. we wondered, at first, if we had missed the entire dargah and learned we had arrived just before the Muslim call to prayer, after which comes the dargah on thursdays. the qawali singers were excited to see us there and arranged for front row "seats" for our group. following the dargah, we went in search of a tandoori restaurant called iqbal. after inquiring at "iqbal house," we were redirected to "iqbal restaurant" and joined the throngs of other post-dargah carnivores, consuming more meat than can possibly be healthy for me.

Fri: i lived a day in the life of a Regional Manager for a pharma manufacturer. i joined our client in his delhi territory and recognized that one of the values my company, PharmaSecure, provides to this client is increased face time with physicians to explain the PharmaSecure authentication system implemented on the client's products. the Regional Manager and his Territory Manager capitalized on having me with them. by quickly explaining that they had someone from the US with them who wanted to take the doctor's opinion, we decreased our wait time significantly and probably didn't make any friends among the medical rep community. the doctor's offices were jam-packed with reps vying for a moment of the doctor's precious time. though patients are meant to be seen before reps, we were ushered in before patients (or with patients!) a number of times.
we grabbed lunch at a local fav channa kulcha stand, eating chickpea mash with large, oily rounds of bread. our last appointment of the day led us trans-Yamuna to East Delhi, on the east side of the Yamuna River that flows through Delhi. after we cajoled our way into a famous cardiologist's office and back out, i opted to take the new metro back to Connaught Place (CP), where i left my car. i snapped a couple shots on the journey back.
back at CP, I realized the folly of parking in the farthest back corner at 9:45 AM when i wanted to get my car out in a hurry at 6 PM. a 20 minute game of traffic jam ensued (ever seen that game where you arrange cars on a grid and have to get the yellow car out?). in the process, one car's rear bumper was bashed in while another car ripped the bumper off of a parked car. perhaps it was safest to be parked at the farthest back corner, after all.
i met up with a friend at the india habitat center to watch a documentary about hijras, an ostracized community of the subcontinent comprised of people born as males and wanting to be females. the film maker, one hijra, and one woman running an HIV/AIDS outreach to hijras (hijra livelihoods come mainly from prostitution) took questions following the film. my friend and i then crashed the reception for a classical guitar concert taking place upstairs from the film. a lovely evening, indeed.


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