Hi friends! Door to door it was a 23 hour trip but I made it and not only that but I have had two Indian meals and… NOT sick! I don’t want to get too cavalier about it.. I’ve been told by everyone I’ve spoken to (with ONE exception.. you know who you are) that it is inevitable. I even had a HAIR in my first dish but still not sick so I am tempted to feel invincible!! We’ll see.
Arriving here was a bit rough in a sense. To be honest the months leading up to the trip left me in a place where I am constantly looking out to see if what I have been told on the safety front is true. I will not get into too many details here (although I may write an extended piece on this when all is said and done) but I will say on the lighter side: An Indian woman at a Virgin Unite party recently told me she would NEVER go to Haryana (where I am now). She rolled her eyes and literally covered her mouth before preceding to tell me all kinds of terrible things best not be repeated.. the woman seated next to me on my flight, born and raised in Delhi, said “I can tell you one thing- Delhi is not safe”.. a friend of mine who spent two years doing a documentary here reiterated last week “do not trust ANYONE.. you will think you can relax and the second you do- BAM!”. I promise you this is a very light version of the feedback I have received. So.. as you can imagine I have been very much on the lookout. The great thing is, magic upon magic, despite all the feedback I am not scared- at all. The point of that being I am not walking around with a dis-ease. This changes everything about one’s travel as I know you all know and frankly after the massive amount of negative feedback I’ve gotten I wasn’t sure how I would feel once I got here.
I am aware that getting the photographs I want may be walking the line (one of the lines) and am so far getting comfortable with figuring out how I can work around things (which will explain my massively jet lagged selfie at the bottom). I have noticed that yes being white and blonde doesn’t help matters in terms of attention and people have, throughout my time in Delhi today, been taking photographs of me. I can feel a slight sense that I better hold on to my things (as in any major city) and certainly I have felt an underpinning of an energy of a culture I do not yet know or understand. So there is room for 99.99% learning and who knows what that will bring but so far- I am not sick nor am I hurt and I have made it almost 24 hours so I am feeling pretty good.
So before I retire as it has been an incredibly long 1st day… the photo I am including with this post at the bottom has kind of a nice story. When arriving at the compound I am in at Jindal University we happened upon about 25 children singing in front of a shrine. I told some people from the U that I would like to photograph the children and a woman in the group offered to translate and take me back after I grab my gear. Knowing I will likely not be able to do such a thing out in the open let alone at night (this was about 10) I said YES! We walked a distance to get my gear, walked back.. and the kids were gone. So we stood in front of the shrine and I was told the story of Durga as what we were looking at was part of a 9 day Durga Puja. Next thing you know one of the men came up and gave us each a banana and insisted on putting the red dots on our foreheads (I can imagine what that symbolizes but I will have to look it up before speaking to it:)). So that’s how that came about. Pretty cool. No awesome kid pics (you should see the outfits the little girls wear here- beautiful!!) but a nice red dot on my head and the 411 on Durga- the very goddess I was told I was going to need to be more like to do this project (no joke- TWO girlfriends said this to me- one tried to get me to buy a book on Durga to read on the plane and here I am inadvertently taking part in a Durga Puja- kismet?).
Ok now is when I start to fade. My body tells me it is 1:30 or so and I have been up since yesterday. More soon!