So, India! When my mom first told me we were going there, I wasn’t completely excited but I was up to it. This is probably because the last time I went there, I was younger and didn’t appreciate the culture, lifestyle or roads there. AMATEUR! So, I did have bad memories of India. But this time, although not thrilled, I was open-minded.
So, off we were to our first stop, Delhi.
Arrived at the airport and we met up with out last Indian driver. It was surprising how he started off as a driver and now he has his own travel agency. It was exciting to meet his girlfriend too – petite and excited to meet us.
The next day, we met up with my sister’s friend, Shivani. We had to take a metro and it was an experience. It was super-crowded and we could literally feel the over-populated country all in one cabin. In the train, we could see all the different layers of people – a man with a suitcase, looking at his Rolex, running late for a meeting – a mother carrying a baby as well as the groceries she had bought- the beggars just rounding the cabins, asking for money – and of course the group of people staring at us wondering why we were even in their midst. Although my mom was not thrilled about the metro, I was. It was fun for me to experience the daily lifestyle of the 14 million people in Delhi. I also had fun looking at the maps, figuring out where I was and where I was going. Coordination lesson 101.
From Delhi we went off to Haridhwar and got to experience living in an ashram. It was definitely different than the typical hotels. The rooms had 4 single beds and no heater. We were there during winter, so sleeping was another experience. Our room had windows that did not shut and right outside of the ashram was the Ganges. So, it was freezing at night. We had to wear layers of clothes. That was an experience, lying wide awake at night, cold and freezing. Living in Malaysia, it is always hot, therefore the Ganges experience was the time of my life; although I didn’t know it then. I also had a dip in the Ganges – It’s considered holy water but my, my, it was freezing and I was pumped up to get in there. The current was strong, so we had to hold on to a metal chain. Freezing, yes, it was!
Halfway through the trip and we’re off to Shimla. When we were there, we took a 45 minute drive to this secluded place called Tattapanni. There, a river flowed through and it was blue, literally blue! It wasn’t even the light blue you would normally find, so obviously I couldn’t I couldn’t put down my camera. We decided to go white water rafting. Whoooh, that was fun!
Amritsar, here we go! The Golden Temple! Calming and beautiful. Magnificent, may I add. It was amazing how they just welcomed everyone, as long as we covered our heads with a shawl. Walking around with worshipers chanting constantly playing in our ears, we were definitely drawn in to their culture.
We felt the nearing of the end of our trip as we hit Rajasthan, where we camped out in the Thar desert. Although the tent had some comforts like a bed and a bathroom but it was nothing like one you would expect in a hotel – the tap water was freezing cold, the bathroom floor was sandy and there was sand everywhere else too. it was still one heck of an experience. I’ve never done anything like this, so this was exciting. It was New Year’s Eve, and there was a bonfire and a performance from the local gypsies. I was scared of them at first but after a while, I did enjoy their dance. The next day, we went camel riding through the sand dunes. Oh, it felt like I was riding a dinosaur. It was amazing! Then we saw the sunset and it was purple! It was a cold day but we could feel the warmth of the sun.
Back to Delhi, where we spent our last few nights of India. Coming home to green Malaysia, I was different. I was sad to have left this amazing country and my perspective of it had changed, I loved how I woke up everyday not knowing what to expect. I miss the food there, especially the paneer. The adrenaline rushes… that’s something I don’t find in my usual daily life. I wasn’t excited to go to India, but now I miss the hustle and bustle of it. Living in Malaysia, I live in comfort and our lives here are very organized. But back in India, we were challenged! Of course, I am very grateful of living in Malaysia but what’s life without adventure? I hope to be off to India again… sooner than later!