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