I realized that as I was bargaining, I was bargaining over the equivalent of a US dollar. That’s the thing about India. It is constant motion, everyone is hustling, and the prices are ridiculously low.
India is literally bursting at the seams with humanity. Every head turn is a different story. Privacy must be a premium here because this place is just packed with humans, cows, monkeys, dogs, and many, many vehicles. And it seems to me that the residents of New Delhi live out loud. Outdoor barbershops, dentists, showers, and hair washing, peeing on walls, monkeys on fences, cows in the street and in people’s yards… pure madness. Yet it seems to all work. People seem to just make do and get things done. Remarkable really.
A favorite memory is when we went to a Hindu temple (Mandir) to hear chanting at sunset. Walking around, reading the walls with the different prayers and words for living a good life with a cool breeze brushing my skin felt surreal in many ways. Two things struck me while reading the walls. One was that good and evil acts come back to earth in human form. The other was the idea that in order to have wisdom; things like lust, anger, passion, desire, and greed must be avoided. So we got into a bit of a discussion regarding this. Don’t we sometimes have experience these things to live and gain wisdom? Aren’t we supposed to follow our hearts? Isn’t that the spice of life? I guess the idea is to not let the above rule you. Still interesting thinking and it also reminded me how religions have the same themes. We aren’t so different. In the world, I guess I wish we could focus more on the similarities.
As far as the chanting, I really tried to let myself be in the moment and in that instant, I felt eternal. It was a good night.
One interesting thing that I did notice was about the women. First of all, I saw a lot of men outside. Many were doing their thing, but many were just hanging around and chitchatting. I never once saw this with women. The women who were outside were working. Bundles on heads, sweeping the walk, carrying babies, lifting, moving… they were busy. Also, the colors. The colors on the sarees, trimmed with sparkles are just beautiful. It stands in direct contrast with the poverty. Women were doing construction work in these!
The Taj Mahal is shear perfection. It’s exactly what you think it would be, but better. The coolness of the marble, the curve of a dome… exceptional.
The poverty is right in your face in India. The children, regardless of the beautiful smiles, were the most difficult aspect for me to contend with. I mean, what’s really the difference between them and me? Where I was born? That’s really it. Also the crowds can be crushing. The noise can be deafening. And the smells. Actually, that was much worse in China – no joke. But then there are the colors, the sparkle, the bargaining, the cows, the breeze, the tuk tuks, the faces, the grins, the small kindnesses that just make India so beautiful and compelling.
I am not doing India justice in this post and I find this one of my more difficult blogs to write. I am trying to condense a week that in some ways, felt like a lifetime. I can’t explain it. Most of the time, I really like my life. I am so blessed. But when I got back to Istanbul and unpacked, it was just one of those times when I was in love with my life. India is fascinating,
The pictures below are ones that I already have on Instagram. I am going to upload some video and more photos by the weekend! Enjoy!