the battle of extremesDelhi, Fall 2012
The amount of pre-departure advice I’ve received over the past few weeks has been overwhelming. It wouldn’t be quite so bad, except that no one dispensing it has any idea of the wealth of information that’s already been thrown at me. That, and they all seem to find ways to contradict one another.
Maybe that’s a good thing, though, considering how it accurately reflects the kinds of emotional extremes I’m going through. My worrisome self needs the reassurances that everything will be fine and I’ll have the time of my life, if I just learn to let go and immerse myself in Indian culture. The adventurer in me could use more of the precautions about being thoroughly prepared, and knowing who and when to trust. Maybe my aunt had the best idea in the field of advice-giving, simply sending a check and card that read to the effect of “Have a wonderful trip! Also, buy some Lomotil.”
I have heard an equally wide range of extremes in adjectives used to describe New Delhi, from friends and family that have visited the city. Sprawling. Lonesome. Crowded. Friendly. Vibrant. Dirty. Human. Fast-paced. Slow-paced. And unbelievably hot. I suppose India, like me, is found in between the ends of some continuum that defines its character. And in many ways, like someone you’ve heard about (and possibly relentlessly Facebook-stalked) but never met, I guess I won’t know that character until I actually arrive and meet India face-to-face.
I spent the weekend in New York City a week ago, fighting what nearly erupted into a full-fledged war with the consulate in order to get an extended student visa. (It’s a losing battle, but you probably don’t want the gory details.) In between making myself a nuisance at various offices around Manhattan, I managed to visit Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, one of my favorite touristy places, no matter how many times I go. The 90-degree heat was good practice for the 100+ degree heat I’ll be experiencing on a daily basis in just one week. I’m worried that my Minnesotan-born lungs will wither in those kinds of conditions, but at the same time, I’m determined to adapt and make it an adventure. Or maybe a broad spectrum of adventures.
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