Tuesday, September 28, 2010

India: Day One

So why India? That had to be the most common question I got asked. Well, a combination of cheap airfares and a very pleasant experience a few months earlier in Kerala were the main deciding factors. Expecting the similiar green atmosphere of Kerala, I went ahead, and was I in for a shock! Firstly, the travel styles for that vacation was completely different than what I had in mind this time. Then, it was cushy and easy with the driver and car and the pampering that comes with family vacations. This time, i was gonna do it backpacker style! Of course I didn't expect everything to be fun and easy, but being a backpacking virgin, I didn't quite expect it to be the kind of challenging that it was.

So on the Friday night of Eid ul-Fitr, I landed at New Delhi's swanky airport and of course, I couldn't locate my airport pick up. After much walking around with the hotel guy on the phone, the driver is found to be lurking behind a pole and effectively hiding the piece of paper that had Mr Praveena printed on it. My name is as Indian as it gets, so how exactly they thought it to be a male name is beyond me, just like many of the things that I would come to see in the coming days would be beyond me.

Now on the way to the hotel, the one and only thing the driver wanted to talk about was marriage. From the age one gets married to love marriages vs arranged marriages and finally ending up in gay marriages, I just couldn't get him to change the topic! In the days to come, I'd meet lots of other taxi drivers, auto drivers, random Indians who refuse to discuss anything else but marriage with me.

Moving on, my first impressions of Delhi was that hey, this ain't so bad. In fact, the roads and surroundings looked modern and nice, although according to the driver, all that is brand new and it is because of the Commonwealth Games. So we reach the hotel (Ringo Guesthouse) at Connaught Place, after climbing up hundreds of steps just to get to my room, turns out the room is a little bit of a dump. But that's okay, I was paying 400rs for Connaught Place, so wasn't expecting a palace to begin with! Usual lumpy pillow, decent bed but hey, attached bathroom with a sitting type toilet. After an awful, too damn spicy dinner of briyani at the nearby Anand's, it was time to sleep. The walk to the restaurant was as unlighted and dark, so I was so glad for my handy pentorch that I had packed 'just in case' never thinking that it would actually come in useful!

1 comment:

  1. I wonder why your Ahmedabad trip has not been mentioned here? I mean, you had wonderful experiences during that day. Like your arrival early morning, then science city drive, the hotel, the Ashram, the market, the small shopping spree, the breakfast, the bus blunder etc.