Episode #30: The Gora! Gora! Gora! Clip Show

December 7th, 20091:37 pm @


A building in northern India

Even here in Delhi, the Christmas decorations are on sale, so it’s probably time to take a look at the past year – my first in India.

This week marks one full year since we stumbled, bleary-eyed and full of champagne, from a British Airways flight and into the early morning chaos of Bombay airport. Tipsy, tired and a little confused, I wasn’t really prepared to deal with an immigration officer flummoxed by the tall white guy handing him a document that identified him as a Person of Indian Origin.

That, however, was only a warm-up for what was to come.

There have been the requisite items that every tourist has to tick off their list: seeing the Taj Mahal at sunrise, catching an overnight train, mixing with the crowds at India Gate, checking out the livestock at the Pushkar Camel Fair, lazing on the backwaters and taking in spectacular views of the Himalaya. Oh, and did I mention getting the runs?

Then there has been the stuff that I could only really have found myself doing in India. Partying in the grounds of a royal palace with the likes of William Dalrymple and Simon Schama springs to mind as a highlight. As does having a tuxedo made to attend a ball at the British High Commission. And while I’ve been to plenty of spas and had the odd massage or two, nothing quite prepared me for being smothered in oil for a synchronisied massage in Kerala. Of course, interviewing domestic staff was also something I never pictured myself doing – then I found myself in India.

As with most things in life, it’s the people who really make a place. Bombay, with all its crazy madness is a prime place for people watching, and there is no better time than during the festival of Holi, when locals compete to cover each other in as much coloured powder as possible by any means. In Delhi we’ve become good friends with our part-time driver, despite his reluctance to support Australia during the Ashes.

Working as a journalist has given me access to parts of India I would never experience as a tourist. In Bombay I found an enthusiastic wine industry full of dedicated people looking to make Indian wines on par with the best the world has to offer. On the streets I met locals engaged in a biggest recycling scheme – turning the city’s waste into useable products. I also gained an insight into some of the country’s largest conglomerates when two billionaire brothers went toe-to-toe in court.

So what’s in store next year? “Who knows?” is the only safe answer in a country as chaotic as India.

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