bahut means very
as i've mentioned before, i struggle with speaking hindi. i am, however, extremely fluent in like 5 and a half hindi words.
bahut. it means 'very'. i don't use it, though, because unlike the other 4 and a half words i know, bahut can't stand alone. despite being useless, i quite like the word.
bahut. bahut. bahut.
the more it sloshed around in my mind, the more i realized its significance in context with my experience in india. everything in india is very something. india is very hot. india is very colorful. india is very bizarre. india is very flavorful. india is very wonderful.
in india, lanes are mere street decorations. no one gives the slightest acknowledgment to the lines below their cars, which makes riding in a car the most stressful thing ever. It's also like they have this ongoing game of who can fit the biggest thing on four (or three, or two) wheels in between two cars. On top of that, like most other things in india, it's every man for himself. Stop lights? Nah, why acknowledge those. Instead, cars and tuktuks gun it to see who can beat who going through intersections.
There's always background noise of some sort. whether it's the unending sound of horns on the road or the call of the man who comes through the streets collecting food for cows, it's always something unexpected. My favorite sound is when I am lucky enough to flag down a tuktuk with a stereo system and we tear through the streets blaring bollywood music and a horn. It reminds me of being home driving with my windows down.
And the colors. oh, the colors. everywhere you look, india boasts its array of vibrant colors and patterns. homes are panted beautiful colors (i pass one on the way to work that's orange, purple, yellow, and red), tuktuks and trucks are accessorized with colorful tassels and art, and clothing is as intricate as the wonderful indian tapestries hanging in the bazaars.
you'll also see your fair share of crazy things while in india. And most of the time, what you think is crazy isn't crazy at all to the locals, which makes it even crazier. like the two mice that live in the main floor of our house. they'll just pop out from under the sofa and scurry into the kitchen. rather than freak out, you just call the mice by their names, laugh, and try not to think about the fact that your feet are on the ground. I swear, your mind adjusts in awesome ways while you're in india.
You learn to love curry and spices, although you'll always jump at a chance to eat american food. Last night, we went out to eat at an american restaurant that was very california-esque. I ordered a peanut butter smoothie, a veggie pizza, and garlic bread (talk about a bizarre meal combo). it felt like home. for desert, though, we stopped by a local sweets stand and got jalebi. jalebi is like a funnel cake, except more fried and even sweeter. I can only eat 5 pieces at a time before i begin to feel my arteries closing.
I've trained myself to shake off the staring and to be fearless when it comes to conversing with the locals. they're just as curious about you as you are of them and their culture. i've had some of the coolest conversations with people just by removing the "foreigner" barrier that stands between us. Indian people are some of the most genuine people ever- they truly care to help you and to listen to you. My mom and I were very skeptical about that before I had arrived, and while i'm still on my guard (all solo female travelers should be), we couldn't have misjudged the people more.
ah, incredible india. i truly don't want to leave. i'm already mentally planning my next visit.
I'm sitting here writing this blog post in my break between my two classes. This afternoon is my last class because they've canceled school next week due to the heat. I'm already upset about saying goodbye to the kids and I haven't even arrived at the classroom. We're having a goodbye party, though, so that should keep my spirits high until I have to leave.
Since there's no school next week, we're doing more exploring. Ethan and I just finished packing for our weekend in Rishikesh, and our subsequent week in the northern indian himalayans. Our homestay family is also taking a vacation to get away from the delhi heat (it literally is that unbearable), so I'll have to say goodbye to them tonight also. I don't even want to begin thinking about that, i adore the four of them more than words.
the other three volunteers are napping, but i'm wide awake. I'll leave by bus tonight for rishikesh- updates to come!