Remembering India

When I first arrived to New Delhi, India I was travel weary and still reeling from my Air China flight where H2O
was drip-drip-dripping on me from the stowaway above. I asked several times for the flight attendant to attend to it, but she gave up and started ignoring me. She was too frustrated with the screaming child to care. The elderly Indian woman next to me on the aisle puked in her hands and flung the rest of it on the aisle. I was close to joining her from the smell. The plane landed.
My mind was instantly blown on the taxi ride to the hostel. There are lines on the road, but these lines mean absolutely nothing. An example, if there is a three lane street the actual number of lanes will be fluctuating between five to nine. Horns are a driver’s best friend in India. They use it almost as much as they breathe. It is loud everywhere, always. There is no reprieve from the pollution, sound and air.

My traveling companions and I to a lesser extent, found an artistic muse in what we called the ‘trash cow.’ This is the sacred cow of Hinduism which roams the streets while backing up traffic gorging itself on human refuse. Several times I had the enjoyment to witness whole plastic trash bags slurped down by the sacred cow in a matter of seconds.

This is the stage and setting for the majority of my experience in India. Throw in some overwhelming scammy people, human suffering, abject poverty and you’ll have a perfect recipe for New Delhi. Yes, if you go to India be prepared to be treated as a walking buffoon who is easily bilked of their savings account.

Queuing in a line, such as waiting to buy a ticket is non existent. On one occasion I was shoved aside by the sweetest of mothers who then proceeded to wave her five kids and husband past me. Furthermore, Indian men use their bellies as if they were a buoy rocking against a dock in stormy weather. No amount of nasty looks made them stop and think, “hey, maybe I shouldn’t use my belly as a battering ram against this foreigner’s back?” I was close to flipping my lid, but hey cultural differences are great.
I got sick. I got very sick. I got very sick a lot. I think, dear reader, I have made it clear by now that I got sick. My fondest memory of being sick (yes, one can have fond memories in retrospect; I am still alive!) is when I puked my guts out on a plane while these beautiful French ladies made the nastiest faces at me and gagged in horror. Viva la France! My only regret is that I didn’t ask one of them out for coffee with fresh vomit dribble on my chin.

In Agra, the city where Taj Mahal is located, at our hostel I met the holy patron saint of scammers who we affectionately referred to as Cheaterman. Unbeknownst to me, Cheaterman would save plastic water bottles and refill them with tap water to save a whopping 20 rupees. One night after drinking alcohol I was exceptionally thirsty and chugged down two liters of delicious Cheaterman tap water. The next day I became king of the hostel restroom. No one could dethrone me. His story ends here, but let us say I could write a book on his scams.

Okay, but what is good about India? Well, for starters the architecture is stunning; it borders on inducing Stendhal Syndrome. Furthermore, If one can avoid unknowingly giving away their bank account, India is extremely affordable. A struggling student who works at Starbucks to barely make ends meet could live as a king in India on the same pay.

Nestled in the northern Himalayas with villages to explore and mountains to climb one will find Kashmir. It is laden with ancient breathtaking monasteries and mech sized Buddha statues. I expected these giant statues to stand up at any given moment, turn on the jet blasters, and fly off into outer space. When and if this happens I shall be fully converted to Buddhism.

Rajasthan a state located in the west bordering Pakistan, is culturally unique with an Arabian Nights flare to it and is home to the Thar desert where I, out on a camel trek, collected some of its sand. The sands of time that I collected rests in a 75 year old camel leather vial I haggled off of a perfume and cologne shopkeeper in Jaipur.
For the sake of brevity I shall conclude here. Mayhaps I will retell some of the more interesting tales in the future, but for now this overview shall suffice.

-R

Comments 1

  1. Awesome post. I want to know more! Gladly, they’ll be plenty of time to share stories this fall. I heard Chads side (how he unleashed full neo-colonial rage), but I’m looking forward to hearing more about your POV.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *