7 January, Delhi

Since arriving in Delhi we have, not surprisingly, felt as though we’ve been walking around with dollar signs above our heads. Praveen had warned us against taking tuk tuks but we assumed this was just based on his bias as well as his own self-interest so we took off from the hotel in a tuk tuk heading towards the National Museum with a quick stop off at a coffee shop. After negotiating a price the driver stopped at the coffee shop and said he couldn’t take us onto the Museum as it was too far. In reality it was only a few kilometres but it was impossible to argue. Without us really agreeing to it, he called us a driver to take us from the cafe to the Museum, whose name was Bill. Of course, Bill came up with an elaborate plan to take us to various sites around the city, including several which we were interested in going to anyway. His price was too expensive and we weren’t in the mood for negotiating so we said no and decided to just head straight to the Museum instead.

Bill told us an interesting story along the way – whether it was true or not who knows… he said he’d met an Australian called Adam about fifteen years ago who was a med student travelling around India. Bill and Adam struck up a friendship and upon leaving the country Adam said when he had finished his studies and established his own clinic he would invite Bill to come to Australia. Remaining true to his promise, he called Bill ten years later and arranged flights and accommodation. When he arrived in Australia he met a guy who took him to the opal mines (at this point in the story I started to internally roll my eyes – as is the case whenever a conversation turns to gems or stones). He brought back a supply of opals to India and turned them into jewellery, making a large sum of money which he in turn used to build up his taxi business. I was half expecting Bill to attempt to take us to some opal jewellery shop but he didn’t and I was pleasantly surprised.

The Museum had an amazing collection of paintings and artefacts dating back to the Harappan Civilisation. We were both impressed by the miniature paintings and terracotta figurines.

© Richard Munckton