This is What Happened to Me the Night I Arrived in New Delhi, India
Traveling around Asia is awesome. I love this continent. I was born here, so you can imagine how i really want to pursue discovering my own heritage. Before i travel miles away to Europe or Africa, i want to start from where i was born and raised.
But, traveling around India? That's a totally different story.
The journey to this sub continent is by far, my most grueling and most life-changing trip ever. To tell you honestly, my trip to India is so mind-blowing i am still finding it hard to write about it, even thought i made the trip three years ago.
It all started when i arrived at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi where the visa on arrival claim was on its starting stage. I was surrounded by the airport staff, all seven of them helping me out sort my visa for India. Times have changed and the protocol has been revised numerous number of times. Before, there was even a 6-month rule where you have to wait 6 months before you can come back to the country. Now, more countries are actually allowed to enter the country provided they arrange their visa on arrival before they fly in.
It was a relatively slow, but painless march towards the airport exit of this famed airport after clearing with immigration. With no definite plans where to stay, and what to do for the next three weeks, and a very long flight from Kuala Lumpur to boot, there's one thing i needed to do to calm my nerves, and that is to light up a stick. But i lost my lighter. Trusting on faith, i asked the kind policeman if i can borrow his light. With match in one hand, he gave me a light. I just met my first Indian friend.
Because i look like everyone in India, too, it wasn't too hard for me to get in touch with the locals. Since they don't see me as a blonde Caucasian but one of them, i think i am able to touch base with them more seamlessly. I make friends wherever i go. I was even asked for directions from people from Kerala. Sometimes, these friends are legit, sometimes they ought to make money from me. Truth be told,i blended well in India.
What you read about taxi rides in India are probably true. And with nothing much to see in the middle of the night, in an unfamiliar territory, i was excited as hell. But i was also afraid to see for myself what I've been looking forward to know.
Soon after, i arrived in Pahar Ganj, my home in New Delhi for the week. It was close to midnight when I arrived. And the cold winter breeze was something i didn't expect. Most especially, since we are up brought in a notion that India's heat index was suppose to rattle in between 40 to 50. It was a different case when i arrived. I needed to put on another layer of clothing to keep myself sane walking around finding a place to eat. I checked in at a place called Anoop Hotel right by the heart of the backpacker's street in Delhi. It wasn't spectacular of a place, but it provided me comfort during those nights when i was in the heart of this huge country.
Walking around in New Delhi at night is weird. And thinking about it now, would make my nerve crack. I reached the train station after walking north of where i was. People were actually burning wood in almost every block. The mix of smog and pollution from motor cyclos were enough to make me gag. But i welcome this. There were more restaurants there nearby the train station. It makes sense since there were stops even in the wee hours of the morning. But all of these restaurants are already starting to close. I came to a busy joint, where most men were out smoking cigarettes and chatting about cricket. I reckoned this place could be a good place to eat. When i passed by the area, the old lady was already cleaning the place. And all the dirt mixed with water were brushed towards me. With my foot soaked in canal water, i reckoned it was definitely time for me to head back to the hotel. I was starving, but never was i angry. I realized that traveling to India is not just about booking a flight, and praying to God that everything works fine. You need to open up yourself to the world in this country. Accept all the good, and bad of it. Keep one's senses open, but be on the look out for danger. The impeccable welcome of India to me that night was more than enough to keep my appetite steady for the night. I actually lost 15 pounds after traveling to India.