HOGMANAY IN DELHI – from doss house to posh house! scruffy overlanders join the jet-set, 1976

[The Hogmanay search for tickets goes on – we bump into a friend from the bus trip but he’s got no money left either.  Then somehow we stumble into the world of rich Sikhs and the Delhi jet-set and suddenly it’s party time – in rotting jeans!]

FRIDAY 31ST DECEMBER, 1976 – Part Two

“Went back to register mail place – nice man allowed us to look through mail – nothing.  Rang up Old Delhi post office – but nothing either. 

Back to British Airways – met Ian [elderly Swaggie from bus trip] on the way!  Fell out of scooter rickshaw and rushed up to him crying and gabbling our story – so relieved to see someone we knew!  Poor Ian couldn’t understand at 1st!  Couldn’t help because no money left – flying out that night.  Went to B.A. – Telex back [from Asian Greyhound in Windsor] saying Mrs Flynn away till 4th Jan, but no details!  Ian and nice Brum girl came in.  Asked them what they thought of telexing home for money for 2nd ticket as B.A. suggested.  She said A.G. could easily cancel and refund 1st ticket and Ian said they must! 

Felt doubtful because Mum and Dad not on phone [on Skye for New Year], could only give Granny’s address and number.  They encouraged us to go ahead – so B.A. sent off telegram.  Other alternative was to wait and see if tickets come – but money running out and if with Ariana or Iraqi – wont be flying till at least next weekend.  Felt at our wits end.  Had to cash more money – asking rickshaw man for Ivory Hotel – in fact was Imperial I meant.

Sikh came up and asked us what wanted.  Said would walk us to Imperial Hotel becuase going that way, then said cold so must have a coffee.  Doubled back to open air restaurant – lovely Xmas tinsel streamers etc gleaming in dark.  He invited us to party for New Year’s Eve with Embassy people etc!  We only had jeans to wear (mine just about rotting away!)  Said it didn’t matter.  Took us to Imperial – really posh – his relations ran it!  No cheque service till Monday! 

Dropped us at Mrs Calaco’s to get ready.  Nice American occupying 4th bed in the room – he felt lost, wondering what people were doing for New Year’s Eve.  Went to Palace Heights to see if Gary and Beryl were there [friends made in Kathmandu] but they didn’t turn up – so met J.B. Singh who took us out in taxi to posh part of New Delhi – full of Embassy people.  Took us to his uncle’s house – uncle is a member of Mrs Gandhi’s gov! and very high up in Sikh religion – pictures of him with parliament and a painting of great religious conversion with him on elephant!  He’s 86 – was out to dinner in poshest hotel in Delhi.  Cousin came down – a real character – Indian playboy grown to fat; talked all the time about his trips to Europe, his girlfriends, the jet set in Delhi – said would take us to loads of hotels and parties and have better time than at home!

He waited for his father to bring car back while JB took us to a really posh hotel  – Akbar Hotel – very modern and plush guards on the door dressed in red uniforms and medal ribbons.  Everyone in gorgeous saris and smart suits.  Sat in one of bars and drank cinzano red!  Nearly £1 for each drink – super!  Waiter dropped tray load of glasses.  Cousin (called Pixie) finally came and took us in his vast smooth car – which he drove as badly as the taxi drivers – to another party.  So spent 12.0 and beginning of 1977 in the back of this huge Buick!”

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