A Year in Review
I’ve been living in India for a little over a full year now, so I thought that this would be an appropriate time to review my “India To-Do List”, and to reflect on my time spent in India so far!
2010-11 India To-Do List
- Learn to drive – So that I can retain some measure of independence and self-sufficiency. I’m embarrassed to say that I still haven’t learned to drive here. It’s just so easy to get around otherwise! I’m still determined to master these Delhi roads, though.
- Become conversational in Hindi – So that I can understand group conversations without asking for an English translation. I’m improving in this. My comprehension of Hindi has improved drastically, to the point where I can follow most of a conversation, especially if there are a few English words thrown in. My speaking ability is okay. I use Hindi primarily with taxi and rickshaw drivers, shopkeepers, and our maid. I’m shy about speaking Hindi with friends and family, though, because I’m embarrassed by my American accent.
- Learn Indian cooking – Something I’ve always wanted to learn, and what better place than in India itself! This one I’m also working on. On the days that I’m home for lunch, I hover around the kitchen and take notes on what our maid is doing. I have yet to try to duplicate any of her recipes on my own, though. However, I have been teaching our maid how to make non-Indian dishes, including pancakes, really delicious pasta sauces, and casseroles!
Ride Delhi’s Metro – Said to be one of Delhi’s best forms of public transportation.Completed Aug. 28th, 2010. Click here to read more! The Metro has actually become one of my favorite ways to commute to and from work. It’s clean, efficient, and reliable, and I would recommend it to anyone.
Attend at least one event during the Commonwealth Games – Since they’re coming to Delhi in October, I may as well!Unfortunately, the closest I got to the Commonwealth Games was watching them from a hotel room TV because I was traveling outside of Delhi during the Games
- Palika Bazaar, Connaught Place – The idea of an underground bazaar fascinates me
- Jantar Mantar – An astronomical observatory built in the 18th century
Jain Bird Hospital, Old Delhi – The idea of a bird hospital sounds so sweet to me!Completed Aug. 28th, 2010. Read more here. Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi – Delhi’s oldest and busiest market.Completed Aug. 28th, 2010. Read about it here. Red Fort, Old Delhi – One of Delhi’s three World Heritage Sites, and the only one I have yet to see. Completed Oct. 30th, 2010 during another trip to Old Delhi. Unfortunately, my camera died before I entered the Fort, so I don’t have photos to share! 😦
Jama Masjid, Old Delhi – Every image I’ve seen of it is always breathtaking.Completed Aug. 28th, 2010. Check it out here. Baha’i Lotus Temple – Often compared, architecturally, to Sydney’s Opera House.Completed Aug. 27th, 2010. Click here to read more! National Gandhi Museum – It commemorates Gandhi’s life, and even has a few of his personal artifacts. Completed Feb. 1st, 2011 when I was showing a group of people around the city. We were even lucky enough to see the live khadi-spinning demo!
- Safdarjung’s Tomb – It’s just down the road, but I’ve never had the chance to visit
I have yet to visit Palika Bazaar, Jantar Mantar, and Safdarjung’s Tomb, but otherwise I managed to see the rest of the sites on my list (and many of them more than once)! In fact, Old Delhi has become one of my favorite parts of the city, and I love to share it with newcomers and visitors.
Outside of Delhi-
- Simla – During the days of the British Raj, the summertime capital of India
- Sanawar School – My fiance’s former boarding school in the hills
Srinagar – Unlikely that I’ll visit now due to political unrest, but I hope to sometime in the future. Completed June 7th, 2011, when my husband and I traveled there for a three-week vacation in the Himalayas! We spent half of the time in Srinagar, and the other half in Leh. Both places were beautiful, and offered a much-needed break from Delhi’s heat.
No trips to Simla or Sanawar, but I’ve been really fortunate to get to do lots of traveling, otherwise! Last fall, I traveled through the state of Madhya Pradesh and to Varanasi and Bodhgaya. In March I spent one week in the desert city of Jaisalmer, in the state of Rajasthan. In April, I spent one week in Kathmandu, Nepal for work. And in May, I spent a few days in the hill station Mussoorie, and a few in Jaipur. (Click here to see photos from my trips to Jaisalmer, Kathmandu, and Mussoorie.) Finally, in June, Amrit and I and two friends traveled to Srinagar and Leh for three weeks for a Himalayan holiday! Lots and lots of traveling, and hopefully more to come…
During the year, there were also plenty of things that I accomplished that weren’t on my list. The largest accomplishment, by far, was the multi-day Indian wedding that Amrit and I managed to pull off in December! We’ve now settled comfortably into married life in India, and are enjoying our time together as newlyweds. In addition to that, all of my time spent in Indian gyms has paid off, and I’ve lost quite a few kilos (or pounds, for my American readers out there…) And then there are smaller, subtler accomplishments that I see in my daily life – in my increasing comfort with the way things are done in India, and also in my ability to begin to incorporate the things that I loved doing in the U.S. into my life here. I see myself becoming more familiar with the neighborhoods and markets in Delhi, and learning how and where I can find certain things like imported foods, fine wool and knitting needles, and seed packets and gardening tools, and then using that knowledge to do the things that I used to love, like cooking and baking the dishes I grew up eating, taking up knitting projects, and planting flower and herb pots for our home garden.
This is only just the beginning, though! I’m already a few weeks into my second year in India, and have already begun thinking about what I would like to do, see and accomplish this coming year. I’m revising my “India To-Do List” for this year – there are a few things that I’m carrying over from this previous list, but otherwise this is a new set of goals and things to do and see in the year to come!