What can I say?

Delhi.

I’ve seen it in Bollywood films. I really don’t know what to expect. I know India but Delhi would be another story. I was being unkind to India since I have been stereotyping the men because I had some bad experience with Indian men here in Malaysia.

Let’s assume they’re a bit pushy and…touchy.

I can’t imagine a country full of them!

And yet I still go there. Typical me.

All my wildest imagination came to a halt when nothing bad happened. In fact, we enjoyed our stay immensely. When you read the ad at the billboards and maybe some train station (Masjid Jamek especially) and it says ‘Incredible India‘ please believe it. They didn’t lie. It’s an incredible country with the most incredible people with the most beautiful culture.

And we had the luck to go several days before Diwali, one of the biggest celebration in India. In Malaysia Deepavali would be the equivalent name.

Me and my friend did the usual stuff. We took the public transport, eat the same food, breathe the same air, watch the same movie, we did everything we could to learn more about the country and I had to say this is a trip that neither both of us could forget.

My parents are both Bollywood fans so I had been exposed early in my life to Hindi. You can’t even flip the channel during 2 minutes of the intervals of publicity. So what I do is spend 3 hours reading subtitles and face expressions. Of course, logically I know several important words but when you grow up listening to Bollywood songs and films practically every weekend you cannot help but catch many words. I did not learn this formally but I am quite surprised to be conversing simple Hindi with several people who can’t speak English very well. The stupid thing is that I can’t understand their English but I do understand the same thing if repeated in Hindi.

My friend called me a geek and this is a title I can’t strip no matter hard I tried.

It’s what I do. I figure ways to understand language and try to make sense of what I’m listening.

But the most important thing in India is not just simple food and good hydration (tea, coffee, lassi, mineral water), it’s in the spices. In Malaysia you heard authentic banana leaf curry or paid high price of North Indian fine cuisine but Masala in India is not the same as Masala in Malaysia. So does the curry.

Really I don’t mind human excrete on my sandal or sewage up to my ankle or garbage on the sides of the road with cows blocking the traffic.

I would stay for the food. I would even convert to vegetarianism. That’s huge words coming for a person who eats anything on 4 legs (I hate chicken, can’t do the same with pork)

I ate lentil curry with the same enthusiasm and delight as if I got a free ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. I would smile and giggle and wipe everything clean. This is done alone. I do admit that I look and sound like an complete idiot but it was worth every single drop of curry.

And that’s just lentil curry. Need I tell more about the mutton?

Now I’m just frustrated with Indian cuisine in Malaysia. It’s just not the same. The difference is like night and day. What lucky people they are, living in a country with such great food…

Many would say ‘oh how I pity the Indians. They are so poor. They literally have nothing!’ but do you hear them complaining? If we have so much in our country, why are we complaining so much?

Indians love their country. They are a proud breed of people and they should be. When you stopped and asked a man, there would come another man and another jostling hands and verbally abuse each other to recommend the best. In sum, at least 4 men would come and offer you help, even if for choosing a bicycle in the reserved bird park, or telling you which way is it to go to Namaskar Hotel. No money asked. No tips, nothing. Some would even bring you to the train counter to help you fill a form to buy the train ticket and if you tell them you don’t have the tuk-tuk prepaid card (you have a prepaid card?), they would haggle the tuk-tuk price for you and make sure you’re safe and sound and arrived at the Delhi Tourist Information Counter before it’s closed.

Indian gentlemen, I thank you.

Don’t go home without watching Bollywood movie in India. You will believe and understand completely that they would definitely start a fire to the cinema if the ending is not what they want.

So it would always be happy ending.

We had the chance to watch ‘Rascals’ in Jaipur starring Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgan and Arjun Rampal (so gorgeous…hmmm…) See, I know my actors. The crowd cheered at funny jokes (they whistled, clapped and took pictures), sing along and some might dance too, yell at the screen when they don’t favor the scene and was entertained by the catchy songs. We were positively caught in the moment. We were entertained by them.

Oh, and they have 10 minutes interval in between the 3 hours duration of the whole length of the movie. So people went out and bought more popcorn and drinks and later continue with the cheers.

No English subtitles but you know just what to do. You understood. After all, it’s only a movie.

We spend more than 3 hours at the National Museum just on one floor. We missed 2 more floors. We covered old potteries, old ruins, Indian myths, Old Civilization findings at Mohenjodaro and Harappa (Indus Civilization) and some miniature Mughal paintings (priceless collections!)

We will need to come again and finish this. We need at least 2-3 days to finish everything.

Don’t forget to try the coffee, the milk smells like cow (which I am a fan). I love the butter, cheese and everything that has cow casein derivatives in it.

You have been warned about the curry.

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