Photo by Andreina Gonzáles, Mathura
By Andreina Gonzáles
New to India? Be ready for the ride! It’s one of the most common phrases you will hear upon arrival. In a real sense, riding or driving in India is like no other. It goes against any preconception of how traffic should circulate; it’s more like sailing. You have to learn to be ready for the currents, the wind, be aware of other boats and sea creatures. India itself is like a river; the sooner one grasps the concept, the quicker you adapt.
If you follow India’s current, you will discover the most fascinating places, people, and traditions. Your new country is meant to be explored, and it can’t be discovered nor understood from a window! Sure, it can be intimidating at first, but another gift that India gives you is the opportunity of meeting great people and building beautiful friendships. Some of the best, most supportive friends are formed in this magnificent country. You will find that there is always a helping hand willing to show you where to shop for those groceries that can’t be easily found in traditional supermarkets. New friends will open up their homes and invite you for a coffee. Even on those days that you might feel lonely, there is always someone at your kid’s school willing to hear you and share their experiences. With such support, exploring India becomes even more joyful than you can ever imagine.
Some of my best memories come from “wild” experiences at the Holi Festival celebrated in the streets of Mathura, one of those occasions where you let go and become one with the crowds. Pushkar’s Camel fair is not to be missed. The list of places to explore is almost never-ending, and the truth is you may have difficulty choosing the best one, but I know you won’t regret any of them as they will all be unique for sure. I know that I left India after 5 years with an incomplete list of places that I wanted to visit. So don’t waste your time and plan ahead every long weekend!!
Photo by Andreina Gonzáles, Pushkar
The truth is, India is an incredibly diverse country in terms of food, language, religion, traditions, and landscapes. There is so much history slain out in its architecture that at times I found myself submerged in Buddhist books, visiting mosques, watching a Jain dance, walking barefoot at a Sik temple, and of course, celebrating Diwali, Dussehra, etc.
Is there something I would do differently? I would travel more and would try to learn some proper Hindi. The few words I learned helped me approach more people and better understand their culture. Speaking basic Hindi will immerse you even more into Gandhi’s motherland. So, put on your explorer boots and enjoy the ride!
Andreina González is originally from Venezuela, Architect, supporting wife, mother of two beautiful kids, professional photographer, and a former Delhi expat. She moved to India in 2013 following her husband’s work and lived in Delhi with her family until 2018.
Carla Maradey: “What could be the chance of finding another Venezuelan in your same neighborhood or colony in India? If you had asked me that question before moving to India, I would have said “Zero.” Luckily for me, Andreina was in West End, New Delhi, like I was, and although she was always busy and tied up with family duties, as she is a mother of two, she still had time for a coffee or lunch at times. We were both raised in Venezuela but in different cities. Our backgrounds weren’t identical, but we were Venezuelans and lived our younger years in what we now call the beautiful years of freedom and peace. Long gone from that part of the world, we now worried sick of our parents and relatives who now live under a totalitarian regime. Besides, speaking with someone in your own language is priceless. Andreina understood me and is a gentle, sweet carrying woman now like a sister to me. I asked her to be the Godmother of my 1st and only son, and she accepted. My husband and I are pleased. We continue our wonderful friendship, although she currently lives in Ciudad de Mexico with her family, and I’m grateful to be able to call her my friend.”
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