Time Out in Delhi

By | 14th December 2017
Plants in garden, Delhi apartment

Plants in garden, Delhi apartment

The idea was to stay in Delhi for four nights, a kind of extended pit stop on our way to Nepal where we’re planning to trek the Annapurna Circuit over Christmas and New Year. We thought this was a good amount of time to get over our jet lag, acclimatise a little and spend time with the family friend hosting us.

As it turned out, both Kim and I became ill, one after the other, and so the pit stop turned in to more of a convalescence period. We suspected that our respective bouts of illness were related to the poor air quality here and so for a few days we both ended up taking refuge in the flat, without so much as a breather outside. When the Air Quality Index is as high as it usually is in Delhi during the winter months, the advice is to stay inside with the windows and doors shut.

We have been lucky enough to be staying in a lovely, spacious 1950s-built apartment, so being unwell here has been a lot more comfortable than it could have been. And we’ve found that, while India has been carrying on with its colourful bustle outside, we’ve been able to continue enjoying much of it from behind closed doors.

On our last full day, I ventured back out to the porch, and wrote the following about our time here:


High, high ceilings,
dark polished wood,
windows patterned with lead.
Outside, a small lawn and
large lush plants, tall trees.
Beyond, a rectangular, neighbourhood
park where men read and doze and
play some cricket. A short walk away,
a few cafes selling sweet and salty
lassi, masala dosas and paneer.

The other direction, a shanty town
lines a busy road. Rickshaws, taxis,
bicycles and motorbikes ply the
route to Huyaman’s Tomb, the second
Mughal Emperor, lying in splendid rest
for over five hundred years.

Back at the homestay,
birdsong, barking dogs, 
hawkers’ calls and the sound 
of a hammer infiltrate the house.
A tiny, striped squirrel runs 
down the tree outside the window.
The front door is closed against the
winter Delhi air, but India is everywhere.

5 thoughts on “Time Out in Delhi

  1. Andrew Lowing

    Do hope you have both recovered from your bout of illness. Now on holidays myself. Kim told me about your blog. I shall follow it with great interest. All the best for your adventure. E.T.

    1. goatsheadeast

      Thanks Andrew. Good to hear from you. We’re now well recovered, thanks, and have started a trek in Nepal. Hope you’re enjoying what I’m sure is a well deserved holiday.

  2. Rebecca

    Beautiful poem and great to see pics of your lovely Delhi respite centre

    1. goatsheadeast

      Thanks Rebecca! Yes, it was a great place to lay low and recover.

  3. Andrew Lowing

    Hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and enjoy the delights of a new year on the roof of the world. Best wishes…… E.T. (Andrew)


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