I’ve been in Delhi since the morning of July 29th — that is, not even a week. For the first two and a half days we were put up in a hotel near Connaught Place. On our first day in Delhi, Friday, we went around Delhi and saw Humayun’s Tomb. Friday also included a cycle rickshaw ride through Old Delhi and Chandni Chowk. On Saturday we trekked out to Agra for the Taj and Agra Fort. The Taj, in all honesty, was a bit underwhelming for me (especially since it was under renovation). I thought the drive through Uttar Pradesh was a bit more enjoyable. That same night, after dropping out professor off at his flat, my study abroad partner and I went into Connaught Place where I had my first encounter with someone who set off all of my red flags. Immediately after our guide, Priyav, departed to go back to his own home, a guy came out of nowhere and started asking us where we were from, how long we’d be in Delhi, where we were going, etc. I answered the first question — regretfully — but ignored him after (quite rude, but I don’t think paranoia hurts when you’ve been in a country for less than twenty-four hours and are out in the evening). My partner, however, kept talking to him because she’s friendly and too trusting and divulged to him where we were from, where we’d be studying, how long we’d be in Delhi, etc. He began leading us away from the inner circle and where he was trying to take us was becoming less and less populated. I told her we needed to go back for some bogus reason and he looked at me like I was being a total b*tch. But like I said, I don’t think paranoia hurts when you’re in a completely new place.
On Sunday we settled into our home stay and the family is really great. But being around a family made me really think about my own mother and brother, and no matter how nice the family is, they are not my family and it made me really sad. I cried, as expected, and I cried again when I was finally able to get onto Skype with my boyfriend. I know this will take adjusting, but I’ve never been away from my mom for more than two weeks, so that’s what I’m the most upset about currently.
We were briefed on the metro today and did our first run to the university and back. We stopped off at Chandi Chowk for about two hours. I finally haggled (for a kurti and rickshaw ride) and the fact that I’ve been using my Hindi more seems to also be positively affecting the prices I end up paying.
My TA has also recently arrived back in Delhi and has invited me to visit and stay with him in Aurangabad for a weekend in a few weeks. He’s from Aurangabad but is based out of Delhi for work. He was my Hindi TA for the last academic year and he was a great teacher. He was really committed to really teaching me the language and I really appreciate that. Plus, he has four dogs, and I really miss my two at home.