Millennium Post

From the diary of a Mauritian girl

Sauntering down the streets of Delhi with eyes blurred with dust, yet curious to know the ‘Incredible India’, I tried to figure out a way out through the narrow intertwining roads and trying not to be sandwiched among people. The summer heat of July 2012 made it difficult to breathe but still the air I inhaled was a blend of some delicious sweet savouries cooked on the road side and of an indescribable pungent smell, of this land of colours. Exhausted of walking aimlessly on the crowded roads where a multitude of books were sold along with bright and colourful saris and churidar, and people arguing and bargaining, I went back to my hotel room.

Drained out of my strength, I lay down on my back and kept thinking of how a cycle-rickshaw just conned me to get me back to the hotel in Paharganj by taking double the fare for the small ride back. Trying to be brave, I told myself, ‘Himtee, you’re 26 now and a foreigner in India and it surely is not time to shed tears but to act since all registration formalities for your post-graduation course need to be completed.’

Lying on my bed, I realised that I have been hungry since the previous night. When I opened the menu card kept on a table in my room I saw pharatha and mostly all the dishes had quiet familiar names. Indian culture is not that different from our Mauritian way of life. The island of Mauritius from where I came from was far now. I should now get used to a new way of life which was much faster, vaster and more real than my own. Despite the label ‘mini India’ Mauritius carries due to similarities in culture, traditions and religions, yet so many things differ in the two countries. I left back home the sandy beaches, a tropical life just for the craze for learning and the crush that I had nursed for India since childhood. An India which I was made to live through films and songs.

A knock at my hotel room reminded me of the phone call I had previously made to a man who was supposed to be my guide in India till I could find my way alone. Despite warnings to be extremely careful, I did let the stranger into my room. He sounded friendly but soon I started to feel like my pathetic state made me prone to be a victim. These were among the first things that made me realise that being a girl and trying to struggle in India will not be easy. Yet, the forthcoming days were not that hard. Thanks to all my friends, I now can undoubtedly say that with time my life in India has changed for better. Though sari is a common dress back home, I wore it for the first time in India. This country is an oceanful of cultures; and I, with my own, feel like a rivulet joining it.
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