India; Memories of First Impressions

Looking through old emails, I found the letter a young me wrote after my first few days in India, in 2001. Not too much has changed in the last 18 years about flying into Delhi, and you might enjoy this description of a young woman's first impressions of this special place! More of these old writings to come...

India November 2001

New Delhi

Alright. so here we are. I don't quite know how to begin. It's been crazy!!! 3 days and 6 airports later we arrived in New Delhi International Airport. and like everyone says, once we left the baggage claim, we were besieged by people wanting to help us. It was super intimidating and Anna did all the talking.

We got a prepaid government taxi to the train station so we could leave for Jaipur immediately. All I could think of on the drive was all the people. So many people. So much space and all of it filled with people. People and cows and noise and garbage. Delhi is like hell but with more people. It is terrifying and fascinating and sticky and dirty and noisy noisy noisy. I don't know how people can live here and keep a sense of self, a sense of self worth, a sense of self appreciation. I feel like a bug.

But we finally got to the train station and walked through the families sleeping and eating and living on the floor with limbless dogs and molting rats. We snacked on spicey spicey dahl with chapati in the train station restaurant where at least 3 large rats with patchy hair live in the kitchen. One of them wandered into the dining area and the cook came out to herd him back into the kitchen with his foot...

 

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