Friday, March 20, 2015

First Destination Upon Arrival in Delhi - Kailash Colony (Part 1)

Here's my driver Hassan reenacting his placard holding
stance at the airport after he peed.

India is indeed incredible. It's a nation that often finds the best to outdo it's past achievements. They already have the world's largest population with a young relative age of 27. They also have the world's second tallest minaret - Qutub Minar.

Now they want Southeast Asia's tallest building too -KLCC.

Everyone I know who's been there described the country as one-of-a kind and often encourages me to go too. But for me to travel to a foreign place, I have to leave it with some form of an imprint. Let's call it an exchange for I am not the sort that goes to faraway places without giving and taking something out from it. You can call me the more active traveller versus the passive. When an opportunity opens for me to act in a commercial shoot in New Delhi, without any hesitation, I did all I possibly could to make it a smooth reality - from the ridiculous amount of work in getting the visa myself (my agent just sleeps at home) to the renewing of my passport. It's a lot of work when the schedule changed at the last minute, rendering all the money spent for the express visa unnecessary. I've tried to keep my cool. There's a million other things to worry about. But I've learned a few important lessons along the way.

When travelling alone, travel in style.
Just arrive at Indira Gandhi
International Airport.
When the ticket was finally ready, I packed only the necessary stuff to fit in my traveller's bag. I spent the night at KLIA to leap forward the queue of many travellers that time. This was going to be my first trip to India, and I want to be ready to take in all the sights and sounds I possibly could. At the airport, I discovered the wi-fi connection to be non-useful and that breaks down my communication with the production crew there. My mind was busy taking in all the new sights and sounds, and the other part was feeling the jetlagged-ness. I called the production crew using the old-style telephone stand. There's an assistant sitting by the telephone stands to help me dial the number. Finally, I've reached the production crew and he told me a driver had been designated for me. He was carrying a placard bearing my name - Krish Law. I don't know whether this was an unintentional mistake or a local humor trying to Indianize my stage name.

Setting up a tent in the slum area.
All the waiting aside, finally got into the sedan where the driver sped through the many crooked and bumpy roads zig-zagging towards my destination (in which I still have no idea where about). At first when I enquired the driver where he was taking me, he told me it was to the shooting location! I couldn't believe this after barely an hour out from the plane, I have to start working! My mind began the prepatory process of readying my body language and facial expression for the shoot that was about to happen. After the driver make a call, he then changed his answer and told me that we're heading to the hotel instead. I took a sigh of relief for I cannot do anything else but lay flat on the bed for maybe just an hour to retinker my tired brain and body. The roads were bumpy and vehicles were speeding through outside like they were on a race. A constant stream of loud car honking were heard outside, further assaulting my poor tired senses. Suddenly, the driver stopped the sedan at a dusty and bushy part of a side road. There were no brick buildings around and he told me he needed to pee! Apparently, public urination is a norm here in New Delhi! I could try to sympathise with him because there's no public toilets around in this patch of dusty and isolated spot of land. When nature calls, a man has to do what a man has to do.

Tailors working in the "Textile Museum"
After he's done with his business, we drove into a series of slum areas. Almost entirely you will see folks setting up colorful tents besides the road or large clusters of wooden and aluminium ceilings being constructed to house the poor. The cars and other vehicles on the road are very agressive. The constant honking and cutting through each other on the road are what it seems. Vehicles' blaring its horns has become the signature symphony for Delhi as we got closer to the centre of Greater Kailas. The hotel where I'm staying turned out not to be the Hyatt but The Allure instead. I was somewhat disappointed because of the change of hotel accomodation after much high expectation but my jet-laggedness left me in a hurried state to drop off everything immediately to shower and get some snooze. I was grilling the hotel attendant Jana with questions -from getting me the charger parts needed to recharge my devices to the way the shower handler turns to release water. It's all foreign to me! I could not charge all my electronic devices with the Malaysian type charge plugs. It just wouldn't fit in the Indian electric sockets.  Thankfully, the attendant Jana was patient and soft-spoken to attend all my queries and needs. I'll give him a 5-star.

The Auto driver
After all is done, I quickly jumped into the shower. I encountered some technical problems in the shower for the steel water releaser wasn't releasing any water at all.  I called the reception again and he showed me the correct direction in pulling the steel ledge. After some playful tinkering, the hot water is finally out relaxing my tired body. Suddenly in the middle of my shower, I received a call in my room! The reception told me to move into another room to share with another person! My expectations were further crushed to witness such abrupt changes again and agaim but my body was too weak to do anything. So I said OK, bathed and quickly laid my tired head to snooze until the attendant comes to alert me about the move into another room. I complained about these disruptive changes to the crew but he assured me it will only be one night. The other point he mentioned was I'm sharing the room with another fellow actor! I hated this arangement for I wasn't under the impression I was going to share a room with a complete stranger in the first place!

I am most insecure of my belongings and what happens when this stranger opens the door when I'm in the middle of changing into my underwear? He already took the room key with him and the hotel has only one. So everytime I want to go out to explore the street, I have to leave a note at the reception. Blady inconvenient. But I was too jetlagged to think anymore and so I slept for awhile and dream. I hope the other mystety actor sharing the room with me would be Amitabh Bachan. That way, I could befriend him and let him introduce me to his illustrious friends in Bollywood. If he refused, then I would strapped both of his hands with my leather belt at the bedpost and used some sadomasochistic force to extract the secret formula for his successful career as a Bollywood superstar. "Tell me, Amitabh Bachan, is it because of your height and fair skin that make you so successful?"

The M-Market
As the day dragged on and I slept, I've noticed how precious these daylight hours were and I should get up and explored the district of Kailash Colony. I've passed through the hotel entrance before this and noticed the metal-detector stand for everyone coming into the hotel. I felt a sudden grip of insecurity for this is a new place to me and I might need some advice on the danger level here. These metal detectors stands were everywhere - at the airport too. I asked if it's safe enough for me to walk around and it turns out to be no problem. It's a strange feeling being the ONLY oriental guy walking along these streets. People were looking at me strangely. But I have my trench coat on and pulled up my hoody. I've passed through many ornatedly-designed houses with names like Mehtas, Kapoors and Khans at the entrance. Some of these beautiful stone houses were turned into commercial centres for beauty and skin cares or for dental and general healthcare. It really was an entrepreneurial strip of road here. The rows of beautiful and really top-class architecture of these houses leave me such a nice feeling. Unfortunately, the constant loud honking of vehicles on the road makes this beauty kind of painful. But the truth is anywhere in the world, no place is perfect.

The Hindu Temple of Krishna
I continued to walk and unexpectedly turned into the M-Marketplace. I've asked a production crew about that place, and she told me it's a high-end place to shop. There's a nice and balanced designated green area like playgrounds and parks along this district. This Kailash Colony seems to be the place for all the upper-class of society. On the last day of my trip here, I hired an Auto driver to take me around to any places of interest here. The Auto driver was the one to initiate this sort of sight-seeing and he offered to take to 3 places for 100 Rupees. The first place he took was this Hindu temple. Shoes were not permitted inside the temple. I walked around and enjoy looking at the many paintings of the god Krishna. Strangely enough, I remembered my driver identifying me as Krish instead of Kris. I walked to the centre court and saw the lovely statue of the God surrounded by water. Next off, the Auto driver took me to a museum of Indian textiles. Now this sounds a bit dodgy to me because the place he took me was actually a place for tourist to buy soveniers. I looked around and found a cashmere scarf for men, a diamond ring and a floor carpet with very ornately-designed stones and metals embroidery. On the way to my last destination, I asked the Auto driver how much he's paid to bring tourists to that "museum".

The last place he took me before he dropped me off at The Metro was a protected monument park. He told me it's a great place to visit but I quickly stopped him and said I have had enough of parks and also his cheating and conniving ways to suck money out from my breasts. I am not the Goddess Durga with her long large breasts where milk and honey flows for everyone to enjoy! But he was persistent and told me it's the best place for history and the park contained a very ancient stone where his God has written some holy words on the stone. I relented and accepted it for I merely just wanted to show him that I'm no fool to his trickery.  The park wasn't exactly big but have beautiful trees surrounding this rock hill. At the top is where the ancient stone was.......encased in an iron cage! How can anyone go near to the rock to read what it says? Never mind, consider this my good deed for the day. I'm already tired of New Delhi and can't wait to visit the Old Delhi next.

To be continued...

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