India is a lot like Vegemite (a lesson I learned in Australia): you either hate it or you love it. Some people warned me that it was overpopulated, overwhelming, and most definitely under sanitized. They were right. Cities are overflowing with people, blanketed in trash, engulfed by a cacophony of noise – and I absolutely love it.
The energy emitted from this country has a magnetizing effect on me. I am helplessly mesmerized. All of the cities in the US combined still couldn’t come close to New Delhi. It is where the word ‘mayhem’ originates.
If the road is designed to fit three cars, you can bet there are at least five squeezed on there, with scooters competing for every imaginable crevice. They zip in and out of small spaces without so much as a trace of concern for their lives, despite being inches, literally, away from a smack to the ground. A peaceful drive doesn’t exist because horns are used just about every ten feet to pip when moving through and passing in the lanes that don’t exist. Walking across a road like this in America would be suicide, but locals here do it with the nonchalance of an elderly man taking a stroll through the park on a Sunday afternoon.
Everything about Delhi is undoubtedly overwhelming, but it is also wildly stimulating to the mind and senses. There is so much to hear and see and feel and smell all at once that I have never experienced at home before. Everything keeps me on my toes and reminds me just how alive I am.
The first few days of my trip were spent doing tourist-y things around Delhi with my Aunt Jayne, and visiting the Taj Mahal, of course. There is an impossible amount of things to do here in 48 hours, but we did a pretty good job of squeezing it all in: Qutub Minar, Lotus Temple, Lodhi Gardens, Red Fort, Taj Mahal, Ina Market, India Gate, Evergreen Sweets, and the Taj Majal. By all accounts, a wildly successful fly-by visit.
After that we flew down to Coimbatore, where we are helping at an orphanage for girls. My aunt has been coming here for 13 years, with this being her 25th trip. I feel so honored to have been able to come along, and can easily see why she has fallen in love with this place.
These girls are bright-eyed and brilliant, not to mention they can melt your heart with a smile. The staff here go out of their way to help you whenever possible. In a country that has so little, with people who are so selfless, I am inspired to be a better person.
It’s only been a few days so far, but India has already blown me away and melted a soft spot into my heart. I’m sure the next few days will be ones I will never forget. Plenty of pictures and stories to come!