A Love at First Sight
We ease into India, Lisanne and I. The second we get out of the airplane and I take my first breath of the Indian air I can feel my entire body trembling with love and excitement. The moment I have been looking forward to for so long has finally arrived. Unfortunately, my backpack did not arrive immediately, so on the 14th of August at 3 AM in the morning, I find myself filling in ‘lost luggage’ forms at the arrivals area of Indira Gandhi International Airport. It doesn’t kill my vibe though, I let it become an opportunity to let go and trust that all will happen as it is supposed to. Three days later it becomes evident that my lost luggage situation was really a gift because it made us decide to stay another night which gave us the opportunity to do an amazing tour through Old Delhi and meet loads of vibrant souls.
Internally I’m looking for this “culture shock” feeling that people have been telling me about, but I can’t seem to find it anywhere. What seems to fill me the most is a deeply rooted feeling of being home. Maybe it sounds crazy to feel at home in a country and a culture where I’ve never been before, but it’s true. I love the way my senses are stimulated by new smells and new energies, it doesn’t feel alien or intimidating at all. Of course, we are stared at every now and then because of our unusual appearance, and sometimes people even want to take pictures with us because of that. Also, I’ve never seen so many Indian people in my life before, but at the end of the day, we’re all just human beings, on a journey through this life which is what connects us all. I guess that’s why I don’t feel any different from the people around me. If anything, all these gleaming smiling faces make me feel more connected than ever before.
Love and light shine from the windows of the soul,
Often encountered in unexpected places,
For those who choose to look,
Divine beauty can be found anywhere.
These four children where living on the streets with their parents, we were exchanging smiles and waving at each other from the bus in which I was sitting. Unrivaled was the divine beauty of their eyes and radiant smiles. Never before have I been bathed in such loving gratitude as when I had given them some money and they ran to their parents to show it, the whole family gifted me with loving grateful smiles. It was a very humbling and beautiful encounter.
Life is happening everywhere in the functional chaos of Delhi. Everywhere you look you witness both extremes of human life happening next to each other; from extremely poor, to wealthy rich, from people in very traditional clothing to people who look no different from westerners. It seems like there’s a harmony to the contrasts. Everything kind of flows together. Cows roam the streets just like the stray dogs, amongst the crazy chaotic traffic, that is like a dance of tuk-tuks, cabs, trucks, bicycles, pedestrians, and cars. Everyone is aware of one another and they all enthusiastically blow their horns, like all the time. I’m absolutely and totally falling in love with this flowing chaotic dance of life. It’s easy to identify with for me anyway, as I am myself functioning chaos.
In three exuberating days, we experience both extremes of Delhi. On the tour through Old Delhi, we are confronted with poverty, dirty streets and very busy narrow alleyways, where the street food and chai thee is being prepared for us to try. With little prayers on our minds that we don’t get a “Delhi Belly” the next day (luckily, we didn’t), we try a wide variety of the Indian street food delicacies which Kirti, the cool Indian Girl who guides us through the chaos, shares with us. That same day we join a group of people from the hostel to experience the Delhi nightlife. We party at two really cool clubs. One is called Summer House and the next is club Roar. All the well-to-do Indian youth seemed to be there, enjoying spending too much money on alcohol, wearing the latest fashion and just enjoying the carelessness of luxury life. Their lifestyle strongly contrasted that from the people we saw in Old Delhi, and I’m happy we got to observe both because it gave me a better understanding of the variety of the city’s inhabitants.
It’s only been five days since I arrived in India, but already I’m deeply grateful that I am giving myself all the time in the world to get to know the different aspects of this vibrant and diverse country, for it already stole my heart away on the very first day. I will continue to trust the path that unfolds itself, to open my heart and quiet my mind, so I can absorb all the lessons that Mother India is willing to teach.