By Sea, Ben, Shira Kuyat, Lenzi, and Yeskel-Mednick
Today marked our first real foray into India without the constant guiding help of our group leaders.
Armed with only a scavenger hunt list, daypacks, bright eyes, and bushy tails, we set off to seek our fortunes. We were immediately given a practical lesson in bartering (paid just a liiiiiittle too much for our rickshaw). Properly humbled, we started making our way through a bustling street in the Pahar Ganj area of New Delhi.
It was already the early afternoon and food was the first thing on our mind. As we searched for a restaurant, we passed booth after booth of brightly patterned fabrics and huge teddy bears. Rickshaw drivers and vendors joined our group of three as we walked, persistently offering their wares until eventually peeling off to seek patrons elsewhere. As we stared around us, trying to take in the heat, colors, smells and honks, we turned to each other and said,
“This is the exact kind of over-stimulus we were hoping for.”
As time wore on with no success in finding a non-touristy place to eat, we decided to try our luck down a side street. Immediately, the atmosphere changed; this place felt more like the India that Indians know. A bright sign, all in Hindi caught our eye: a local Thali place. We sat down to eat, with the eyes of about 10 locals fixed on us. They weren’t suspicious, per say, but they weren’t overjoyed at our presence either. When we got our food, they brought us spoons as well, although all Indians eat Thali with their hands. Setting the spoons aside, we dug in. We must have looked like a total mess since everyone began to giggle quietly. But we had broken the tension. As we ate, we smiled and they smiled back. Plus, the food was delicious.
And that concludes our first India adventure, filled with both successes and failures. We’re excited for the rest of our journeys in this beautiful and hectic country.