Somehow three and a half months have gone by and it is almost time for me to head back home, for the first time in almost a year. While life in India has given me plenty of blogging material, most of my initial thoughts have tended to end up discarded in half-finished drafts that I can’t bring myself to return to. India is a confusing country, full of contrasts–beggars next to BMWs, crumbling temples surrounded by skyscrapers, modern looking women still facing century-old stereotypes. The more I try and pin down the “real India,” the more confused I become. So in my last 13 days here, I’ve decided to give up all attempts to analyze my surroundings and simply write about some of the strange and unique moments that fill my life here.
Just as many of my Indian friends warned me, Delhi is a city without a spring. My newly purchased peacoat was just as quickly discarded for a light-weight corta (long shirt) before my body could register that the proper response was now to sweat rather than to shiver. The imminent heat of the day has only made me more determined to enjoy the coolness of the mornings and so I find myself waking up at hours that confuse my much more logical housemates who find it enough to turn on the AC.
This morning I went running around Nizamuddin, a Muslim neighborhood next to the famous Nizamuddin dargah (mausoleum). It appeared that I’d found a patch of Delhi filled with my same love for mornings. Muslim men in long white robes and dainty white caps poured out of mosques, having just finished their fajr, or morning prayer. Other men gathered in hordes around pots of bubbling, sugary-sweet liquid, unwilling to start their day until they’d finished their chai. A few women in black burka’s edged their way around the crowd, one of them leading her daughter who was clad in a white hijab. Her daughter whispered to her mother and then gave me a curious glance. I waved and she blushed, retreating into the black folds of her mother. I smiled and moved on, breathing in the cool morning air and hoping that I could carry some of it into the chaos of the day.