Words cannot describe India. It probably doesn’t do justice to try to paint a country in words. I have tried every feeling in India, from wonder to disgust to crying of too much beauty. I felt alive. India makes one’s hair stand on end, it makes you feel majestic, it also makes you feel small, insignificant, minuscule. Crossing all ends, it makes you better, because it makes you more human. The many things we take for granted in the western world may be luxury or inaccessible in India. And yet, I have found people that lived a very simple life to the fullest. And believe it or not, I was jealous and frustrated by my incapacity to encase simplicity in my existence, by my deviation from the pure and from the depth.
After two red eye flights, we found ourselves in Delhi a little after 1AM. The long lines at customs were shadowed by our excitement for the new. We did not feel tired anymore. Being awake for almost two days and traveling half of the world seemed like a mere event. We were finally in Delhi, with an open mind and a welcoming heart. A half an hour ride to our hotel in a deep night, gave us the first glimpse of an extraordinary new world. We fell asleep quickly, with the excitement and awe of being two continents away from home. The next day we visited a few of the known sites. Jama Masjid, Raj Gath, Humayun Tomb, India Gate, Lotus Temple, Qutub Minar, all lie in a bluster of cars, trucks, cows, monkeys, rickshaws, dogs, and people. I was carried from the grandeur of the temples to the heaps of trash, from exorbitance to the squalid state of human existence. In front of me there was an oxymoronic scence, and I was the spectator. I saw the innocent eyes of children with no clothes, hungry and covered in mud. I saw others playing with sticks, dust, feathers and rocks. Next, the cows and pigs were digging in slush. A group of women in precious silk and intricate jewelry made way; next to them, barefoot women wearing pieces of discolored fabrics. Men in white long garments set next to men in dusty torn colorless shirts. In this assembly of perpetual motion, my ears were assaulted by car horns, engines, incomprehensible words, bangles, bells, cries and laughter. The smell was an amalgam of smoke, incense, flowers, rotten and decaying vegetables and flesh. The first few hours in India were exhausting; but my mind was set on taking it all.