This scooter is a good metaphor for Delhi: Once a proud, well-designed machine. Now a battered, in ill-repair construct barely making it through the day. If it breaks down, band aids will be applied and a lot of hope next day will be better.


The first impression: One hasn’t experienced polluted air until one lived in Delhi for a while. It’s a pollution that grips your whole body: a sore throat, barely functioning lungs, you feel the pollution transported throughout the blood stream, into your heart and your brain. Your mind gets foggy, everything in your body tells you to escape the air. The air pollutes everything around and inside you. Even parks feel dirty, breathing slightly less polluted air, amazing monuments are degraded by the air.


The second impression: How can people survive like this? How can a government tolerate this level of abject poverty? How is India considered one of the premium emerging markets when 3 million people in Delhi alone are homeless and live like this each and every day?


India is a problematic country, a fascinating place. It shocks me, enchants me, repulses me, enthralls me, annoys me and continues to pull me in.


Everything is hard about Delhi. It’s hard to breathe, hard to love this formerly magnificent place, hard to stomach the reality of everyday life in this megapolis.


The magnificence is fading away fast, one pollution particle and government neglect at a time. I don’t envy Indian’s government: Where to start to stop the neglect? Too many people, too many conflicts, too many problems, not enough solutions.


The people are lovely. Sales people are pushy and annoying but the people of India are lovely people. The third impression: Sadness. What could be and what is. The discrepancy is shocking. One wishes so much better for the people of India.


As Gandhi said: “Poverty is the worst from of violence.”