Our First Few Days In India

We arrive into Hyderabad at 20 past 5 in the morning during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival- the festival of New Beginnings. It all seems rather fitting and I am truly excited to be here, although after two days in a guesthouse I can't say I've seen very much. After a bizarre customs experience - having a employment visa saying you are going to a hospital causes a LOT of confusion - "You doctor?" "No, I'm a volunteer teacher" "Not doctor?" "No, teacher" "You? Teacher?" "Yes" "So not doctor?" "No". This exchange probably went on for a good ten minutes, over two desks and three different customs officers. I'm pretty sure the last woman found making me explain myself over and over again hilarious as she just kept smirking, but finally we all got through okay and collected our bags. We met Abhilash at the arrivals and got the bus to our guest house in Secunderabad- Hyderabad's twin city. 

Hyderabad, at least the little I've seen, is INSANE, a constant stampede of honking motorcycles, cars, bicycles and vans - many, if not all, balancing cargo of logic-defying size - all making just crossing the road a do-or-die experience. It's like nowhere I've ever been. 

There’s an air of disrepair to Hyderabad and I like that. Even still, it is hard to describe what this new city of mine is like to those who have never experienced it before. It meets every stereotype: poverty, noise, kids in ragged clothes, wandering cows, half-finished buildings. But it also has shopping malls, markets, cinemas, McDonalds, billboards and buildings that wouldn't be out of place in any other city. Although the best one I've seen so far is a massive building shaped like a fish.

It seems somewhat obvious, but the first word I can give you to describe my new home is HOT. I have no words for this heat, it is devastating and longed-for all at once. We flew from London, on a warm and unusually sunny Thursday afternoon, at twenty past three and arrived nine hours later at 5 am in Hyderabad. We were all so glad just to get off the plane, that it hadn't really occurred to any of us that we were about to be deposited in a sweltering, 30C, sticky-fingered Hyderabad. The light in India is something else – soft, dawdling, kind of golden.  It's just so bright. It is disorientating, delirium-inducing and altogether delightful. 

Our first two days in India have honestly been amazing and much better than I was expecting. I wasn't sure before I came here but even after my first bucket shower, power-cut, twelve mosquito bites (they are EVERYWHERE) and curry for nearly every meal (and yet none are the same!) I am still excited. Maybe even more excited, because all of these little things make all of this seem real in a way it hasn't before. I still find it hard to believe I am actually here. Throughout the day we'll all head off to our respective projects, and so it's our last couple of hours as a group for a while. 

I know that these photos can’t begin to capture the pure happiness that seems to surround us here. It’s one of those you-have-to-be-here type of things. But I think that they sum up our first few days here in India, the crazy, chaotic, colourful and curiously beautiful place we are lucky enough to call home for the next year.

Alex & I before we got on the flight :)

the fish building

View from Bharavi's

view from Bharavi's

(R-L) Molly, Victoria and Me

(L-R) Sara, Jenny & Alice

the birthday girls!

group car selfie

our first bucket shower!

(L-R) Victoria, Aleisha & Jenny

Check out my India blog here: www.annesyearinindia.blogspot.com


  1. this is so exciting, thank you for sharing, anne!

    1. thank you so much Lisi! I'm super excited :)

  2. It sounds like you're having such an exciting time, I'm so happy you get to experience something like this! :) It must be so weird to come to a completely different culture & know that you'll spend an entire year there. At the same time I'm sure returning home after that year will be kind of weird as well, at least that's how I imagine it. Cause in a way you won't be the same person anymore - new experiences & memories shape us and make us grow x


    1. Yes! I've been thinking a lot about that, I have sort-of written a blog about it but it's not quite finished yet, just an early draft- but it is about that exact feeling Sara! Thank you so much for reading and supporting me on this adventure x

  3. This is such an exciting time for you! It sounds like you are facing culture shock bravely and respectively (cheers to that!!) and you've an exciting future before you!

    Can't wait to see more!

    (PS: You'll get used to bucket showers before you know it. I'm a camper/backpacker AND I've stayed on an island with no running water. I thought I was going to hate it, but you get over it quickly!)


    1. Thank you so much for reading Kiersten!! I'm already getting pretty used to bucket showers, although the first time it was a little strange! x

  4. Lucky girl! This seems like such a good experience!

  5. What an awesome experience. I loved India when I went a few years ago - I too was volunteering. It was hard to adjust at first, and I got really homesick, but I did develop a deep affection towards it. There's certainly a special place in my heart for India. I learned so much and my heart felt like it expanded x5.

    I did art therapy and some other projects with children. :) It was a truly fulfilling and unforgettable experience. Cherish every moment x

    xo E


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