By Ladita Romero
Dear Friends, Namasté!! I want to share some memories of the almost six years of our lives in New Delhi with you. All of it took place between 2013 and 2018.
Not long after my arrival, a Peruvian friend was kind enough to welcome me. She recommended I start driving throughout the city, which tempted me lots and caused me some fear all at once. However, it was the best decision to adapt to my new reality and participate in the chaos with confidence!
My husband bought an orange Tata, “The Nano.” The car escorted us throughout our stay. That allowed us to roam gracefully through all the neighborhoods without fear of small “inevitable” scratches in the city’s traffic! Right away, I decided to follow in the footsteps of quite a few “expats” who had a contact of a workshop that fixed and sold refurbished motorcycles, primarily “Royal Enfields” and ¨Vespas.”
I ordered a beautiful red and white “Vintage Vespa” of the year 1968, a whim that had always seduced me!
I used my Vespa daily to get around the surrounding neighborhoods: Anand Niketan, Shanti Niketan, Vasant Vihar, Chanakyapuri, Lodi, etc., but I even ventured to go to Old Delhi (quite an odyssey!!).
It was undoubtedly my usual means of transportation to go to my daily job at the LFD (French International School). I was lucky enough to work first as a Spanish teacher and then as a history teacher. My motorcycle was such a success that one year I brought a Santa Claus all red and white on the Vespa to school!!
In those days, I also remember four of my Latin expat girlfriends had also bought refurbished Vespas (just like me), and we would meet from time to time to take relaxed rides around the city. It was undoubtedly fun and different!!
Actually, despite the disorderly traffic, I think people generally drive slowly. One is so aware of any vehicle coming unexpectedly or appearing in any direction… that everyone redoubles the caution, and that would explain the few accidents for such a crowd of cars, trucks, bicycles, motorcycles, tuk-tuks, rickshaws, cows, and so many others all on the same roads.
Of course, you have to be careful on a motorcycle, especially in Delhi, because of the chaos. Still, the good thing is the feeling of freedom that we bikers experience when riding our vehicle; familiarizing ourselves in the new city becomes much more exciting, not simple. Finally, I will add getting to know people’s kindness. I can’t tell you how many times I got lost in the streets of all those neighborhoods in New Delhi, and thanks to the help of the local passers-by and local drivers, I managed to regain my direction!
I will always remember our time in India with great empathy when we lived in New Delhi and, fundamentally, the great friendships we had to share those dear years from all points of view.
Now from Peru, I send you an affectionate greeting!
Ladita Romero, originally from Spain, a teacher, art curator, mother of three beautiful kids, married a Peruvian and a former Delhi expat.
Carla Maradey: “I met Ladita and her husband, Carlos, by chance at an event hosted by the American Embassy in 2013, not long after I arrived in Delhi in 2013, she was kind enough to invite me to her house for tea one afternoon and introduce me to some of our neighbors as we all lived very close by in those days. The idea of riding a Vespa was something I would have loved to experience with my Latin adventures friends. Unfortunately, my husband disagreed with the idea of having me roaming around the city in a Vespa, so I had to let go of that dream soon after. We built a great friendship and continue to be in touch, even now that she resides in Peru.
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