Thursday, August 10, 2017

150 days in India

My journey in this wonderful country was cut short, 6 months short, but the experience and the adventures will now live with me forever.

Five months will never be enough for India, sometimes I even think you need a lifetime to be able to enjoy every thing this country has to offer, from the food to the religion, to the perception that people have of the world and the beauty that surrounds it.

"To adventure is to find yourself whole"

Getting used to the madness that is India, the loudness and the crazy amount of energy that impregnate the busy streets is not an easy task. Anxiety and anger filled my body and head at times but once you understand how everything works, there is nothing left than to enjoy the power and the intensity of living in India.

People have this perception of India being dirty, loud and very very crowded, well let me tell you it is, insanely crowded and loud. I used to work on the top floor of a building that led right to the main road of Kotla in Delhi and I would just catch myself staring at the window to appreciate the madness of Indian traffic. Sometimes I hated it, sometimes I loved it, but most of the times I found it amusing. Never in my life had I heard so many people honking at the same time for absolutely no reason at all. The noise of the heavy traffic was the background song to my Indian adventure. But actually having to catch a cab or a bus was not as fun as looking at the traffic through my office window. I think fast and furious can get a run for the money versus Indian drivers, are there even any traffic laws in India? It's scary at first, you may think you will die, but trust me, these people know what they are doing, at least that's what I would tell myself while I clung to whatever I could in the back seat of the auto.

My experience with public transportation is not the best, the first few months I would take the bus to and from work, but as the summer began to get hotter I would opt for an auto rickshaw which most of the time thought I was a rich tourist and would want to charge me double and even triple of what my ride would normally be. Uber is not much of a help either, if you have no clue where you are going I suggest you have google maps at hand because they will be even more lost than you are and add the fact that most of them don't know English so you will be required to use hand gestures and the little to nothing Indian words you may know. I would get myself in the trickiest situations, I get lost even in Colombia, so of course, India was not the exception. It took me about a month to be able to memorize the route to my house and if I changed that route I'd end up in very random places, but it's all part of the adventure. A tip, in this case, would be to be patient, most of the time it'll be hard to communicate, but patience is key, not that I ever was, but still.

Food is heaven. There is so much to chose from, at times I didn't even know where to start, it was probably the most difficult situation I encountered, what to order for lunch? It was so overwhelming at times we would just get stuck eating Maggy and eggs. If you're vegetarian you will hit jackpot if you're not you will face some very difficult situations, but there is always chicken available almost everywhere and mutton, beef you will get at some very weird and scarce places. I could write about all the things I ate, but honestly, I can't remember the name or the ingredients they contained.

DO NOT STAY AWAY FROM STREETFOOD! Yes I know, Delhi belly, as much precautions as you take you will get it sooner or later. For me, it happened on my last month and it was when I was mostly taking care of my eating habits. Street food is amazing; greasy, flavorful, delicious and incredibly spicy. If you think you can handle spicy food, think again. These spices made my eyes water in a matter of seconds, your blood begins to boil and you feel as your heart is going to pound out your chest any minute. But, apart from the pain, the chilli gives you, the dishes are too good to be true. I was very lucky to have Indian friends that would take me to the most amazing places to eat and a few blocks from my house was a restaurant called Rajinder, all I can say is: I love shawarma rolls.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to experience as much of India as I aspired to, but the places I was able to go took my breath away. Every place is so different and unique you sort of feel like you are traveling to a totally different destination and the ride to get there is another adventure of its own. When traveling throughout the country I suggest you do your homework so you don't end up in the backseat of an aboslutely stuffed to the roof bus with no air to breath or no space to move. In my experience, AC Bus was always the most comfortable, but the train ride wasn't so bad either, again booking the right locality. Wherever the destination, I can assure you, there will always be a friendly person willing to help you if anything ever goes wrong. 

There's so much more I wish I could share but words fall short. Sometimes I miss the noise of the heavy traffic, the epic themed parties and our endless search for a wedding to crash on, because 150 days in India is not enough, not even a lifetime in India is enough. 

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