Before I left England for a conference in New Delhi, my plan was to post updates on the trip while I was still in Delhi. That didn't happen for many reasons, one of which was the lack of reliable and affordable internet access...in Delhi? you might wonder. But while in the capital city of our mighty neighbour India, I heard quite a few conference delegates complaining about how bad internet service was in Delhi even compared to Kathmandu. I hardly ever saw an internet cafe on my five-day's stay there. The conference organisers had provided just FIVE laptops with internet access for the use of 700+ delegates!! There was wireless internet available at the conference venue but that was extremely expensive, despite being as slow as a dial-up. They were charging 150 INR for 30 minutes of connection! So although I had enough to write about from my five days in Delhi, probably more so than I had written over the past 11 months this year, I didn't. Other reason is my chronic procrastination and laziness. I like to be "connected" when I write my blog entries, even when I am just typing up on ecto. Having had to connect to the net using dial-up from home, now I am admiring the real value of ecto as a blogging software. However, owing to my laziness while in Delhi, I still have to write/type up my "Delhi experiences", in fact "experiences" from the two-hour queuing at the Heathrow for the security check all the way to two-hour delay in flight from Delhi to KTM (which I must admit turned out to be a boon as KTM was bandh till 4pm yesterday)!!
Anyway, this is also a just-to-let-you-know entry for those who I have promised to meet while in Kathmandu, as well as to those who I would like to meet myself and will be trying to get in touch within the next couple of days or so. I probably do not need to exaggerate my lack of tolerance for the slow internet connection here, but I think I am coping well so far - only opening my mails once every hour or so, and replying to those urgent ones ONLY! I really would like to stay online longer to bloghop, read my daily-dose-of-blogs, and leave comments - but sadly, my intolerance for slow loading pages is preventing me for doing that so far. But I sure am going to spend more time online in days to come, which I must admit might dent the account of whoever pays our internet/phone bill. I haven't asked yet who pays, but if I stay longer than my previously planned 10 days in Kathmandu, then I have a feeling it might be myself - and that is another deterrent to my internet usage here!!
Well, I have tons of stories to tell from my Delhi trip, which I will surely do in the next few days. But let me provide a synopsis here. My whole Delhi trip can be summed up with a single sentence, and that is "I got ripped off endlessly in New Delhi".
Only good things about my five days there were the food at the conference lunches and dinners, and good books at decent prices compared to what I am used to paying in England; and of course attending some of the interesting sessions at the conference, including a plenary of Amartya Sen!
I am slowly catching up with the things now that I am in Kathmandu. The homecoming couldn't have been more appropriate in a country of wars, protests, demonstrations, strikes and what not due to the ten-to-four bandh called by the "mighty" Maoists yesterday.
Unfortunately the plane was delayed by almost two hours in Delhi itself, which meant I arrived past four in the afternoon, and couldn't experience the bandh this time around. Only visible signs of the bandh when I headed home from TIA were the remains of the burnt tyres on the ring road, and the rush-hour traffic.
The first news that I read this morning was also of the bandh that the Maoists have called for on 31 December and 1 January - a confirmation that I am catching up with things here at home pretty quick. Bandh on 1 January 2007! A sign of how year 2007 pans out to be!?!