Day 2: Newark to Delhi

Sore bums, crying children, and upset stomach, these are probably going to be the recurring themes for the next 12.5 hours. I guess the good news is that the flight will be arriving early at Delhi!

At the boarding gate I met two girls dressed in beautiful Indian clothing, scarves and shoes. They arrived from Texas and Denver, and are meeting a group of others here for a yoga retreat. Their secret code of finding each other was the yoga mats they were both carrying. They are both yoga teachers, and one of them owns a studio and travels often to India. They talked about the classes they offer, and what they enjoyed teaching the most.

It dawned me that this is really happening, that I’m going to India! Suddenly I felt scared and inadequate. There I was, dressed in my western yoga pants, hoodie, a pair of sneakers, and no yoga mat with me. I hate travelling like a tourist, but am I becoming my own worst nightmare?

Taking a deep breath in, I reminded myself that this is my first time going there, and I will learn how to dress local while I’m there. I just need to focus on why I’m goung there, what I have to offer, and that I don’t need to prove anything to anyone else.

Note to self, I need to improve my confidence level within a group of peers, and learn to not compare other’s best side with my worst.

Sitting beside me on the plane was Logan from Harvard, he’s here to do clinical research at the Kumbha Mela, helping at the local clinic to track medical data on ipads. Another was a lady named Manju, super friendly and helpful. We talked about religion, yoga, and tips in shopping in India.

Thanks to the Melantonin, I was able to sleep most of the way there, and surprisingly not even had time to watch any movies.

After arriving in Delhi, maybe it’s because my nose was plugged, but it didn’t smell like poop or curry like popular belief, and was very warm even at night. Getting through customs and finding my luggage was a breeze, but after getting to arrivals I didn’t see anyone waiting for me with my name on a piece of paper. Panic started to overcome the best of me, and just as I was about to exchange some money and call Gopi, I remembered her last email letting us know that the driver might be waiting outside the arrivals hall, as there’s a visitor’s charge to go inside the building. I took a deep breath and calmed myself, believing in the arrangements made, and walked outside.

There I saw my name, and my driver. He took me to the car and I decided to take a nap in the back seat. The air smelled familiar, kind of like China, with a high level of moisture and smog. Lots of honking along the way, the streets were packed with cars, buses, scooters, trucks, and rikshaws. Since it was night time, the trucks are finally allowed on the steets, causing quite the big traffic jam. The driver turned on the radio, filling the car with beautiful punjabi music, reminding me that we’re now in Magical India. I couldn’t understand the radio, but there were bits and pieces of English mixed in it, like “facebook” and “twitter”, inviting listeners to join in the conversation, just like in Canada.

At 2am in the morning, we finally arrived at the gates of MVT ashram, where I will be staying for the next 3 days. The room was simple but clean, and I drifted to sleep quickly.

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