The International Writers Magazine - Hacktreks Journeys: India
love India...I love eating chikoo, mango, giant grapes, pineapple
and lychees...drinking refreshing pomegranate or sugar cane juice,
tendercoconut water, nimbu pani, fresh lime, and mango shakes. And
the mangoes here are so much better than the ones we get in North
America even though they are smaller. Mom was right again. The variety
of fruits and vegetables is astounding. No wonder there are so many
vegetarians in India. I don't even know the name for much of what
I have tasted. India really is an Epicurean delight.
day I was walking home and the strap on my sandal broke. No problem,
I just walked on over to the cobbler at the market. He's just a guy
that sits on the 'sidewalk' with his few tools. Two stitches and two
rupees later, good as new. And I love how you can get ANYTHING delivered
in India-for free. I will really miss that, along with the convenience
of autos, the great food, the amazing shopping...I will also miss the
cute little 5 year old boy who comes banging on my door three times
a week early in the morning to pick up clothes for ironing. He takes
them down the street to his father who has an ironing stall where all
the neighbourhood ironing is done. 1 rupee an item and delivered the
next day. I like to sneak the kid some candy and watch his face light
up. He finally switched from calling me aunty to didi (sister). After
all, I'm not that old!
Yesterday my friend and I went to Sarojini Nagar market. Quite a lot
of deals to be had. Kind of like a flea market, but not really. I find
it fun to go and bargain now, unlike when I first got here. It's like
a game once you get into it. I get so much more satisfaction buying
something after bargaining for it than after going to fixed price shops.
Yesterday, my roommate was haggling for a nice bag and it just struck
me how some of these people are struggling to make an existence for
themselves yet we will try and pay them as little as possible while
we just throw our money at the people that don't need it nearly as much.
I don't like the idea of taking advantage of their situation in order
to get a deal. The very fact that you can get them to bargain down so
low just goes to show me their level of desperation. But that is the
system and that has always been the system. And I cannot remake India
in my own image as I have had to remind myself over and over again.
But, that said, an extra 10 rupees is nothing to me so I always like
to be generous when I can. (If I sound contradictory, it's because India
is just that kind of place).
I don't want to leave India. I still have so much more that I want to
learn and see. I know I will return one day, but that does not make
it any easier to accept my rapidly approaching departure date. I love
being in Delhi; it definitely grows on you. I'm so glad I got the chance
to actually live here and discover it rather than give it a cursory
couple of days which would have been wholly inadequate. There is so
much here to see and do, it just bursts with culture. I could live here
for years and still not see it all-but I'm trying to squeeze in as much
as I can in the short time I have left.
As I occasionally read the international news, I can't help but feel
so far removed from that world. In fact, most of the news is so silly,
I realize how little I am missing. After seeing what I have in India,
the problems of my own country have taken on a whole new light. Plus,
my safe Western existence just seems so boring to me now.
I suppose this bittersweet time before departure was inevitable. Yes,
India got into my blood. Yes, India has changed me. Yes, I love all
of it including the good, the bad, and the ugly. And yes, I will be
back, my only consolation. I will leave you with a quote which I find
poignantly describes India:
..."it is the chaos from which Life is churned out and in all
its glorious variety. India, because it knows how to celebrate both
enlightenment and darkness. India, because it has all the beginnings
without end. India because there you will find you belong, somehow,
somewhere, whoever you are and wherever you came from. India, because
it is heaven and hell together, in one earthy mixture." ~ Anon
Yes, in India, I have found I belong.
© Rita Sidhu, Edmonton Jan 2004
Rita Sidhu goes home
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