|The national dress and yards and yards of it!|
Pungent smells wafting through the car at the 74th Street- Jackson Heights stop on the 7 train. The yards of colorful and shiny fabric wrapped around those chubby ladies. These were my first impressions of Indian people growing up in Queens. But the smells, the images lacked any familiarity to me. It also didn’t help that we never ventured past General Tso’s chicken or linguini with clam sauce when it came to eating take-out or at restaurants. My parents' strong aversion to Indian cuisine barred us from ever even trying it. But post-college, my palate broadened its range. This is where I fell in love with dosas, sikh kebabs, chicken makhanis, raitas, saag paneers, dals; plates wiped clean with naan and rotis. All that lost time without this delicious food! I am therefore so happy to finally make it here to expand my limited knowledge of India. Food is usually indicative of the country so I've been preparing myself for what I expect to be sensory overload.
You immediately feel the difference as soon as you get here. Coming from the harshness of Egypt and making a terrible transit stop in Riyadh, we were relieved to see colorful clothing, smiling faces helping you with your bags and the people from our guesthouse setting the table for our take-out lunch. Upon meeting Tree of Life guesthouse's owner, Ashwani, he immediately set us on the path to wellness: for sleeping well, pillow never facing north and a practice to improve my insomniac self by sleeping consciously. His wife, Suruchi is a teacher and a practitioner of reflexology. Right this second that is exactly what I need, both mental and physical rejuvenation. If this is what is to come, I'm in the right place.
Rest was the first order of business. Sleep, sleep, sleep. For nearly 2 days we've been trying to catch up on sleep lost from the bus ride back to Cairo; sleep lost on a 15 hour transit stop in Riyadh; sleep lost from a 3.5 hour time change.
When we finally awoke, everything just seemed familiar. It felt almost like being home. The crowds, the subway (yay!), the street food were all a welcome sight. The smells and the colors, even more vibrant than I expected.
Here was day 1 in Delhi:
|Creamy, calm cow in the chaos|
|Choose your vehicle: auto or cycle rickshaw|
|Delhi's sandstone fort|
India, you have found us and we are ready for you.