India, I think I love you.
On Saturday I celebrated my four month anniversary with India. I celebrated it by attending the Garden City Rotary Club’s annual charity ball with my Rotary host. I finally wore my saree (draping courtesy of my wonderful flatmate Priti) and spent the evening chatting, eating, and dancing with Rotarians to the Beatles, ABBA, and Bollywood hits. I’m tellin’ ya folks, it doesn’t get much better than that! The ball was hosted at the Brazilian ambassador’s residence which is beautiful. I was kicking myself the second I walked in for not bringing my camera (because it’s bulky and the flash isn’t working at the moment and well, frankly, my camera bag clashes with my saree).
The ambassador’s house is a white mansion. I can’t find a picture online for obvious reasons, and my architectural knowledge is nowhere broad enough to tell you what style it is, so just believe me when I say it is stunning. The event was hosted outside on the perfectly kept back lawn. As we entered there was a wall of delicate oil lamps set up to our left, their warm glow setting the tone for a classy event. Next after the registration table came the amazing silent auction items – glittering jewelry and beautiful paintings. I grabbed a glass of white wine and chatted with the ambassador of Iceland and his date while soaking in the ambiance of the evening.
We took our seats at reserved tables under a large tent while a Brazilian musical group entertained us on stage along with a group of traditional Indian dancers and musicians. Each group played a number of pieces on their own and then did a couple fusion pieces. Indian dancers moving to a Brazilian melody backed by an Indian beat. As dinner started a performer from Mumbai took the stage in a stunning evening gown and platform heels. She got the crowd up and dancing to rock-n-roll classics and Bollywood hits.
The festivities did not end there. Gobind dropped me off at my apartment after dinner and my friend Ena came over to get ready for the next event of the night. I changed into jeans and a nice shirt – my attire for the after party of the Marine Ball hosted earlier that night at the U.S. Embassy. The after was at a house close to my neighborhood. I can say honestly that I had the best time I have had so far in Delhi, made obvious by the fact that Ena and I got back to my apartment around 5:30am on Sunday. The crowd at the party was made up of American embassy staff, Marines, Canadian embassy staff, Fulbright scholars, friends, and randoms. We were some of the lucky randoms, now (I would venture to say) friends. Everyone was incredibly kind, inviting, and interesting. We shared experiences from our varied time in India. I have been surprised by how few Americans I have met in India so far, so I was really happy to connect with so many in one place.
The evening was the perfect India-U.S. medley. I told folks it was my “four month anniversary” in India, explaining that ‘it’s been up and down, we’ve had our rough patches but we’re really getting along now…I think it might be love’. And it is. I have fallen in love with India. I think 3.5-4 months is the magic number to get adjusted to a new place. I have adjusted, found my groove, and I am loving it here!
I send love and warm wishes to you all as you prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday (if you are in the States or American elsewhere, or just like turkey and have adopted the holiday!) I am so thankful for my family and friends, for these four months, and for the adventure that lies ahead.