What can I say about India?

I was thinking what it is I could say about India based on the first three days. Should I tell about the rude touts or the rickshaw drivers sleeping on their vehicles; about the way the humid air glues your clothes onto your skin so that when the monsoon drenches you, you don’t feel any difference; about thw little boy cartwheeling beside our rickshaw begging; about the colourful temples and warm smiles of women in iridescent saris; about wild boar going through crap and trash beside wild dogs and resting cows on the street; about the glorious food, the monkeys in jungles, the namastes?

Lodi Garden
Lodi Garden
Red Fort
Qutb Minar

Welcome to India, where lines are optional, any vehicle whatsoever goes, and it doesn’t really matter which direction you walk, ride or drive as long as you do it as loudly as possible. They don’t sound their horns like aggressive cab drivers in London do – they sound them to announce that they are there and they are coming through. Right when you’ve seen a family of eight crammed on the back of a thing that should accommodate three maximum and the man on a regular bicycle with a two-metre pile of heavy sacks on the back and you think you’ve seen everything, you spot a little kid riding a baby cow. There are so many things to say and talk about, and it’s only been three days.

India has overwhelmed me since the moment we arrived at 4 a.m. and got set up for a hotel scam. The country is out of its mind and no one seems to mind. ‘Different’ is the word that slips the mouth so often it has been frayed and worn out. It is a country for all senses in both good and bad. The incenses mix up with shit and rubbish, and in between the noises and honks you can just about distinguish calls for prayer or somebody singing on their motorcycle.

Jama Masjid
New shoes, old feet
Rishikesh
Humayun’s Tomb

And the people, oh the people. There are taxi drivers trying to take you to fake tourist offices or to hotels that give them commission, and there are men cooking on the streets and telling you to get to more touristy areas because it’s not safe where you are. There are groups, couples, families, so many people who come up to us asking for pictures, and then it’s us laughing flabbergastedly at the camera with our hands around wrinkly old ladies smiling without teeth and shy little kids and young guys dressed like it’s 2005. Everyone wants to talk to you or just stare at you. Last night we were hanging outside of Huyaman’s Tomb and chatting with a cabbie, and afterwards Ben stated: ‘That was a very nice man. Trying to scam us all the way, but a very nice man.” And I think that sums it up pretty well.

I feel like I’m rambling so I feel like I should stop. I’m listening to the crickets outside and dreaming of the sunrise when the mountains will fade back into eyesight from the darkness. Yes, we’ve left Delhi and come to a popular yoga retreat Rishikesh up in the Himalayas. There are so many stories that I could tell, but they will have to be saved for later. Good night India, stay wonderfully chaotic.


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