There’s one thing I haven’t mentioned about India- how incredible the tea is. Brewed to perfection; right about of spice, milk and sugar. But the teacups are so small. I need 4 cups to satisfy a morning hunger.
We woke early to tea, jam and toast at 6am as we needed to walk to Delhi tourisms office conveniently a 15min walk away. I enjoyed that walk so much, only monkeys and dogs stirred at that time on the streets. It’s pretty hilarious watching the dogs bark at them rustling high up in the streets. A lot of homeless people had left their sidewalk beds (for lack of a better word).
We jumped into the bus, only about 8 of us there. We had a nicuraguan, Filipino, polish couple and a few other nationals on our trip. Early on in our 4hour journey we stopped by the side of a highway to get some fresh green coconut juice, and quickly an old man selling handmade peacock feather fans jumped at my window sticking one in my face trying to sell at 20 rupee a piece. It’s funny how in a couple of days you get accustomed to the local currency and start feeling like a tightass haha. I should’ve bought one because they looked so pretty- idiot- they were only 50c in AUD! Ah well, plenty opportunity to find another street side hustler on my trip.
We got to the Taj warned about how professional the street hustlers would be. After all about 50000 people come to see the Taj per day. You can understand- probably one of the worlds best commercial real estate locations! Upon entry, we were seperated into men’s and women’s lines and frisked by security. This is standard upon entering any tourist site AND train station.
The building was magnificent. Completely made from marble from Rajasthan & intricate filigree designs with semi precious stones engraved into its pillars and eaves. To go inside and see the tomb of the King and his third wife- whom he made the site for- was breathtaking. We were strictly told to wear shoe coverings upon stepping onto the marble to preserve it as much as possible.
You don’t know how hard it was getting a photo without hundreds of people in the shot. I had to jump a railing to get one haha after being told off by people who really just wanted to follow suit. I would do a yoga pose and everyone would start copying me once it was their turn for a photo. I would just laugh. It was a compliment.
I’ve been thinking how much people are like sheep, they strive to be like those they admire- how true is that in any culture. The Indians want to be fair skinned- a symbol of status and working inside rather then on farms and in the field. They have skin bleaching products and will often use filters on photos that brighten their face. When on the other side of the world I’m sleeping like a lizard working on getting a couple shades darker. Going to my favourite Acai bowl cafe on the Gold Coast and I will fit in like a fly on the wall, but here everyone wants a photo with me, it’s just such a paradox. I’ve always wanted to be different. Since I was a kid I’d be following a completely opposite football team to everyone at school just because. Haha. I hope I never change.
We then went onto Agra fort. We entered sections of the palace where the king could look out onto his balcony, past Jahmuna river and onto the Taj Mahal and forever remember his wife where she laid rest.
More rustic sandstone beauty everywhere. Symmetrical columns, peeling paint, I loved how beautifully ruined it was, eroding with time. At the entry of Agra Fort we were also surrounded by those hustlers, this time they took form of 4yo kids I kid you not. A girl was chasing a boy away because she seemed like she had dibs on our bus first. My heart broke. I cried on the bus home thinking how much need and despair there is here- people just exist in dirt like stray animals and accept the beggar life from a young age. I learnt a valuable lesson that day- you just cannot help everyone.
This spoke more to me than here in India surrounded by beggars and orphans. This rang loud and true to my life back in Sydney. Working as a social worker where helping others is what you do, day in day out in many aspects- whether advocating, empowering, helping others access services, become aware of their symptoms and educate them to appropriate treatment and see their goals reached and make steps forward in life- I couldn’t help everyone. Thinking unconsciously that can, or that you have to- was just going to lead to burning out and resenting the profession you were so passionate about.
Enduarance is all about lasting the journey. Passion gets you going but persistence, character and attitude gets you there. Never giving up is all about choosing to not let fail be an option.
Lots to ponder on as we got back to town at 930pm and walked home. My handbag never felt so heavy after an insanely hot day walking around. Can’t tell you how good I slept.