Exceeding Expectations: My First Trip to India

The holidays were a great time for me to reflect on what I wanted to make out of the upcoming year. 2017 is the year I finally visit India. Few know that I’ve never been to India before. My mom hasn’t been back in 30 years. But despite the long 14 hour journey, the worry of getting sick and just the overall stress, we decided that January 2017 would be marked as the first time I visit India.

I’m not going to lie and say I was calm as this trip approached, because I dealt with major anxiety all week. I haven’t had a proper night’s sleep in a week because of the anxiety, excitement and to be honest, a little bit of sadness and fear. Anxiety because of the long journey, excitement for finally being able to visit the land who’s culture has sculpted who I am as a person, sadness because my dad and I always talked about going to India one year and here I am taking this trip without him, and fear- because I just don’t know what to expect.

As I’m typing this we’re almost half way to India with 7 hours to go.  Since we have a direct flight things have been pretty simple since we got onto the flight but the airport was a nightmare. Let’s just say I was a hot mess. Dinner on the flight was pretty legit- Rajbhog came in clutch with the Indian food and some quinoa salad with the usual bread, achaar, and mango pudding. Surprisingly it was pretty good once I added my entire serving of achaar into the butter chicken, daal and rice “platter”. I find myself actually taking the traveling advice everyone knows but no one actually follows. Drinking a lot of water has helped a ton- it gives me an excuse to get out of my seat and in the process of filling up my water bottle I actually had a really nice conversation with one of the crew members.  I’m also that weirdo who put on an overnight face mask (practically invisible of course), used a disinfectant wipe on my entire seat, and the one person who’s not asleep at the moment. My eyes feel like they’re being pulled shut but I can’t actually fall asleep so I decided to bring out my obnoxiously large laptop and do some writing. I don’t know how much content I’ll have by the end of this journey but let’s see where it takes me! I’ll also be trying my best to vlog as much of my trip as possible. I’m really looking forward to what India has to offer but for now I’m going to go start my third movie of the flight.

 

Update: I actually got no writing and no vlogging done in India. There was no time and frankly, it was just super awkward bringing out my camera and having people stare. The trip was hectic and tiring, but a wonderful experience. Shopping for all of my wedding stuff as well as Gagan’s within less than 2 weeks was no joke but we made it happen. I really don’t know what we would have done if my massi and uncle hadn’t been by our side the entire trip. I thought my biggest problem would be not having a data plan but surprisingly it was refreshing to not be tempted to check social media every 5 minutes. Shopping in Chandni Chowk was NO JOKE. I would have never thought in a million years that I would be in a tiny alleyway shopping in a store where the power went out every 2 minutes, BUT I SURVIVED. Gurgaon and Rajouri Garden were super cool and I even got to visit my cousins new restaurant, Tippling Street, which reminded me a bit of being back home. Go check it out if you’re ever in New Delhi!

For me I think the most life changing parts of the trip were when I visited Bangla Sahib Gurdwara, where my family went often when they lived in India and Sis Ganj Gurdwara where I’ve been told my Nani (maternal grandmother) used to go every morning. I feel truly blessed to have visited somewhere where my Nani spent so much time. Also I got to meet a ton of extended family who I didn’t even knew existed until I met them in person. My cousins, aunts and uncles in India are some of the sweetest most genuine people I’ve ever met.  If I went through every single detail of my trip- this blog post would go on forever. Currently I’m working on a piece for Brown Girl Magazine about how to survive your first trip to India.  India was not at all what I expected, thankfully. Before I left I had been truly scared after listening to everyone’s stories about their trips but I’m really fortunate to have had such a positive experience. I’m blessed to have been able to start the year this way. Keep an eye out for my piece with Brown Girl Magazine and if you all want me to elaborate about any aspect of my trip just let me know! Until then, it’s time for me to get back to reality and enjoy what’s left of my time in New Jersey before the wedding! Hope everyone’s having an awesome year so far.