Namaste Delhi – INov 8th, 2008 | By | Category: Travel
My first day in New Delhi.
It was one late evening of March 3 when I set foot at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. Although it was quite a lengthy wait to get to the exit area, I experienced a mixed feeling of excitement, anxiety and exasperation. After a long time, I tracked my luggage and met with my escort amidst the crowded area.
While on our way to the hotel, I felt I was not far away from home, as New Delhi (whom Indians call the city of circles) was a mosaic of Manila – crowded streets, traffic jam, flyovers, high rise buildings, and dusty sidewalks.
Before sunrise, I scanned South Extension, New Delhi where I was housed, and thought it is a haven for the rich people in India. Big and impressive houses covered the place where most residents posted their names with titles such as PhD, LLB (lawyers), and MBBS (doctors). I felt safe being there, so it seemed. ?South Ex?, as locals call it, is said to be the poshest place in Delhi, the place where one will find almost everything a shopper will need especially for good quality and branded goods.
Later, when breakfast was served my ?nostalgia? slowly faded. I was hungry but had to struggle with recognizing the foods on my plate -? it all looked so strange to me. They served yellow-colored porridge-looking food named ?dalia? that I thought tasted like “the porridge” but a bit sweeter.
The famous ?chapatti? or flat bread which is a regular food of every Indian meal tasted a bit strange but edible,? thought. It is made of flour, and eaten straight off the fire. As days passed, it seemed I had learned to eat the Indian way especially the ?rotti? which became a necessity for my? regular meals. I thought it complimented well with the curry-based food, or even with chilli vegetables and beans. Some Indians like to add oil or a little bit of ?ghee? while it is still warm from the fire.
The popular Indian beans named ?Dahl? were tasty enough for me to consume at least the whole bowl of ?Masoor Dal? although it is a little spicy because of ?tadka? which is made up of various spices, but I enjoyed the meal not because I was hungry but? because I found the meal sumptuous and appealing to my palate.
It was time for us to go to the training center (Aptech Limited), but it didn?t occur to me that we were to get there by foot, nor did I know that it would take a long walk through the crowded subway and the noisy streets. Although it was scorching hot and dusty, I still retained the sense of excitement for what?s-about-to-come for our two-month stay in India.
First time to meet my fellow scholars, who came from the four continents ? Asia, Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe and I could see our excitement just kept mounting. We all exhibited the feeling of congeniality and wore similar faces of enthusiasm as we were warmly received by our hosts from Aptech, Limited headed by the Vice President of the center Ms. Sonia Narula, her staff Mr. Hanit Vaigara and of course our trainer Ms. Rimi Karan.
(Marigold Cherie Ramos-Garrido is an ITEC Fellow from Philippines who was in India from March ? April 2008. This is the first of a series of five articles about her experiences in India)