Day 13 – Delhi is Home
It’s amazing to me the quickness with which humans can become comfortable in their surroundings. It seems as if it’s a very ancient and profound wisdom, buried deep in our DNA. It only takes a few days, even in a place that is extremely different from what you’ve been used to, for one to become “at home” in a new place. In my travels around the globe, this happens to me over and over again, yet never ceases to create a sense of wonder about what it means to be human, and what it means to be home.
This is the feeling I got upon returning to New Delhi today, after a spectacular four day jaunt through the Golden Triangle of India. This is the name for the region that is connected by New Delhi, the capital of India; Agra, which is 3 hours south and the home of the famous Taj Mahal; and Jaipur, 3 hours directly west of Agra, which is the capital of the state of Rajasthan. In this four day tour I’ve seen things that will never be forgotten, namely the image of the pristine white dome of the Taj Mahal as the sunrise began to peak through the clouds. As well as a religious and musical festival procession leading through the streets of Jaipur, that could just have well been located on a street in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The day began with coffee and an omelette at our comfy Airbnb. Our driver, Samir was scheduled to meet us at 9. He was on time, and so were we. We hopped in, and began our the last leg of our tour, the 4 hour journey back to New Delhi. He stopped at the Water Palace on the way out of town, but as stated in the previous blog, I we had become wary of the tourist funnels, and I politely asked if we could just skip it and get back on the road, to which he obliged. The ride through the countryside was beautiful yet uneventful. That is, until we hit a standstill traffic jam. Traffic jams in India are a bit different, in that cars and trucks are backing out, turning around, stuck, any and all manner of traffic patterns can be found in an Indian traffic jam. The golden rule, according to Samir, is not to stop, because if you do, you could be sitting for hours. So our only path was to careen down off the highway into a farming field.
It seemed like an adventurous move at first, but soon started feeling like a deathtrap. We agreed to get out and push if anything went wrong, which it certainly looked like it would. It was all tilled soil, hard dust, and mud. The first major bump got him stuck, but with a little maneuvering and some pushing, we pressed onward. The next obstacle was a gigantic mud hole with about 10 farmers just sitting around it. I suggested that Paul and I get out of the car to lighten the load a bit, and Samir went full speed ahead through the mud, slinging earth in every direction. Miraculously he made it through, we hopped back in, drove back up onto the highway, and were somehow on the other side of the traffic jam. He’s been driving these roads for over 20 years, and it showed off with this impressive display of skill, bravery, and stupidity 😉
Pulling into our neighborhood back in Delhi, it felt like we were returning home. That’s the feeling I spoke of earlier, and it was quite stark and clear this time around. I’m really beginning to feel the heartbeat of India, the energy of it’s streets, the spirit of it’s people. It takes a minute, but once you begin to hear the melody of the song, it sounds like home.