INDIA – Day by Day (1-10)

Day 0: Incredible we actually made it!! Heavy rain in Singapore and no taxi for 45 minutes. We made it to the airport 40 minute before take-off… and we actually got on the plane. First thought upon landing in Mumbai – ‘Hmmm… it’s exactly as I’ve imagined!”. First restaurant we ate in had a ‘Traditionally Romanian vegetable dish” in the menu. I mean… come on, what were the odds???

Day 1: Early flight to Auranghabad. Guests for breakfast in a house with a dozen servants, located 5 minutes walk from a dozen tents whose ‘inhabitants’ could not dream of ever even becoming servants. Interesting drive to Ajanta caves – the driver clearly loved adrenaline, as half the time we were driving either on the middle of the road, or against traffic. Somewhere along the way, by the roadside, I experienced the best guava of my life!

Day 2: Ellora caves. You reply to one ‘Hi’ from one student, and you get 100 more ‘Hi’s to reply to, 100 ‘What’s your name?’ questions, and 100 handshakes. And many many pictures with many many people who have never seen a foreigner before. Lunch invitation to the Taj Hotel, where we could only enter upon serious security checks (following the bomb blast at the Taj in Mumbai last year). Surprised how inexpensive the food was there.

Day 3: Back in Mumbai, fascinating experience on the Mumbai train. You see what ‘living life on the edge means’, as well as what ‘traveling half outside the train’ means. Not to be missed either is Mumbai traffic in an auto. As long as you have a scarf against pollution, it’s all coolness from there! 😉 Evening at the Gate of India, with again many photo requests by complete strangers.

Day 4: Indore, attending the first of the 2 scheduled weddings. The only foreigner, dressed up in a lengha (one of the traditional Indian dresses), all I can say is that attention was one thing I was not lacking in. Awesome fun though, and looots of Bollywood dancing! Ate pan (the betel leaf ‘digestive’ wrap they always eat after a heavy meal) and then made one as well. Needless to say, I had to dump it into the bin the immediate moment after I put it in my mouth – disgusting!!

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Day 5: Enjoyed Indore on a scooter, and was shown around all the deliciousness that can be bought at the snacks (chaats) stands. First experience in a sleeper train – going to Kota. Cool! 😀

Day 6: Woke up with a cup of chai under my nose and started the day in one of the prettiest Hindu temples I’ve been in. Continued with attending a small wedding procession, a proper Rajput wedding ceremony, aaand a wedding reception in the eve – all of which were not scheduled before! Now, that’s a lot of weddings, even for me!

Day 7: An incredible 5.30am, departure for Jaipur by car. Bumpy yet awesome ride, at the end of which I was welcomed by the most non-conventional Indian couple I’ve ever met. Totally different and refreshing perspective of India. Within the first 5 mins after reaching their home, she told me: “Great news, we’re going for a wedding this evening!” Can you hear the excitement in my voice yet?:D

Days in Incredible India: 8. Weddings attended/crashed: up to 3 a day:p. Amaaaaazing people met: lotttsss!!!. Cows seen: 347. Camels: 23. Elephants: 2. Cups of chai: 21. Sinfully delicious food: lost count. Kg gained: will only think about it once i leave Indian land. Fun had: 150%. ‘Wow’ moments: by the hundreds. Gratitude to all: from all my heart!!

Day 9: Whoever thinks all Hindu temples are the same (as i used to), please do come over to Jaipur!! And while here, make sure you have a yuuumm Aloo Tikki (dry)

Day 10: To my amazement and then delight, my host’s father decided to be our personal guide to the wonders of Shah Jahan and his ancestors: Fatehpur Sikri, Agra Fort and, of course, the one and only Taj Mahal! 🙂 Yes, i did find it as majestic as they say…

 

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