I blogged a while ago about the virtual visitor from India. We had met through ToonDoo and Raj agreed to interact with our students through skype, as part of their inquiry into life in India.
He is now real. I spent a day with Raj in Delhi last week and it was great fun!
The main purpose of our visit to India was to see our son and daughter-in-law in Gujarat, so time didn’t permit a stopover in the south. However, Raj made the trip from Chennai to Delhi for the day and we were able to consolidate our online friendship.
I loved the opportunity to chat face to face over chai, with someone of a different nationality, culture and religion and yet find plenty of common ground. We share an interest in languages, religions, teaching and learning, reading, using technololgy to enhance education…
Walking through the market, Raj explained that the hawkers are illegal and he introduced the vegetables I had not been able to recognise. At the Gallery of Modern Art, he told the mythological tales behind some of the paintings we saw. He negotiated the rickshaw price in Hindi with the driver, although he suggested that hiding me from view would have got him a better deal! Everywhere we went, he pointed things out, explained, told stories. And everywhere he engaged people in conversation in his charming manner.
It’s wonderful to live in an age where such meetings are possible!
This isn’t a travel blog but it is a blog about learning… so I need to write about my visit to India, which was certainly a learning experience!
Our time in India was interesting and eye-opening… at times overwhelming, at times difficult, but always fascinating.
From the roadside slums in Mumbai to the breathtaking beauty of the Taj Mahal… jostling through the throngs in Delhi’s Main Bazaar Road or mustering the fortitude to cross Relief Rd in Ahmedabad… the variety of sights, sounds and smells bombard you! Children flying colourful kites on the rooftops for Uttarayan, piles of richly coloured spices on a market stall, dirt and rubbish underfoot, honking rickshaws vying for place on the chaotic roads, insistent touts persuading you that their goods are what you need, the catchy sound of Bollywood music, the mingling smells of pollution and spicy dishes being cooked at street stalls, sweet chai masala in little cups from a roadside cart, a beggar’s hand pulling at your sleeve, a woman on a construction site nursing a baby while carrying bricks on her head, families living at the side of the road, elegant saris in exquisite colours and fabrics, funeral rites at the river’s edge, traffic jams comprising cars, buses, rickshaws, people dogs and cows…
All these are just a small sampling of the sensory overload we experienced! I’m sure I’ll blog again as I process it all.
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