Pam Baker's blog

A “quiet” Sunday (30 October 2005)

Submitted by Pam Baker on Wed, 2005-11-02 09:53.

The police have asked people to stay at home, and so we are here at the Guest House. All entrances and exits to the city are controlled by police roadblocks. The military has bolstered security everywhere. New Delhi is so large that we don’t have any first-hand knowledge of the tragedy; without TV we would be quite ignorant of the happenings. The email shops are closed on Sundays. But other shops are open as usual, in defiance of the terrorist’s attempts to create fear. Just as in New York, New Delhi seems determined to rise above, deal with the problems, and show a stiff resolve.

Sunday evening Jane Schukoske, the Executive Director of USEFI, invited us to join her at a party for the Indian contemporary artist Naseth Kaporia. It was held at the home of Shavin and Herbert. Shavin is a classical Indian dancer, and is on USEFI’s Board of Directors. Herbert is a former Austrian diplomat. Their home is a beautiful place with a large enough yard to have an evening garden party for a couple of hundred people. Herbert gave a very good speech in which he said that they had thought of canceling and then decided that the best resistance to terrorism is to go on with life. A woman sang a moving lament, and the artist asked us all to light candles and place them on the pathways after a moment of silence in remembrance of the 61 dead and more than 250 injured.

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Settling in and getting unsettled (29 October 2005)

Submitted by Pam Baker on Wed, 2005-11-02 09:51.

USEFI arranges for a local student to be our facilitator the first few days, for which we are very grateful. Kaushik is a law student and a great guy. First order of business was to find an ATM machine. When we were in India in 1998, ATMs didn’t exist and getting money was at least a 2-hour process. Now, on the second try, we found a bank in the same network as Peoples/BankNorth, and voila, cash! The next stop was a cell phone store. We are now the proud owners of a basic Nokia, a pre-paid phone card and a phone number. Jet-lag required an afternoon nap, then off to an internet shop, it’s that “flat-world” again. It was about an 8 by 10 foot building with 6 computers, right in the middle of this very nice residential area where we are staying. While many people use the internet now, fewer actually have a connection in their home, and instead go to a shop like this (reminds me of the “communal” public telephone in villages in Wales 35 years ago.) While sitting at our rented computer terminal, we stared eyeball to eyeball with a very large sacred cow on the doorstep.

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We are fine

Submitted by Pam Baker on Mon, 2005-10-31 12:39.

Just a quick note to let everyone know we got here safely very late on Thursday night. Met our hosts on Friday. And Saturday were the three bomb blasts here in Delhi. We are fine and were not near those areas. People were asked to stay inside Saturday night and Sunday, which we did. By today everything has returned to normal, with people taking the attitude that the best resistance to terrorism is to go on with your normal daily life.We will write more as soon as we find a high speed internet.

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