I remember…my first trip to India.

India

I have been travelling to India for many years but I remember, like it was yesterday, my first trip to India. My mother, Padma, had visited India over twenty times so I was fascinated to see what the attraction for her was. I packed up my husband Rahul and my two sons aged four and five and organised a five-week holiday to India.

I remember thinking, as the plane taxied down the Mumbai airport runway, that this was going to be a trip to remember. This thought was prompted by visions of people cooking their dinner in the make-shift houses of the slum that exists just metres from the landing jets. Rahul and I peered out the plane window in amazement as life went on despite our arrival in a huge, loud aircraft.

I remember being picked up at midnight at the airport in a rusty old mini van by our hotel driver. As we turned the corner to leave the airport a huge lumbering elephant adorned with silver anklets was running down the road with its keepers in hot pursuit. “Moving to temple Madam” our driver smiled as he pointed to the elephant. My sons couldn’t believe their eyes.

I remember arriving at our hotel right in the middle of an Indian wedding reception. The loud Bollywood music made everything in our room rattle and vibrate. However we all lay in bed and smiled and enjoyed hearing the music mixed with happy laughter.

I remember taking a lead from my sons in focusing on the positive. As we strolled down Juhu Beach they ignored the rubbish but marvelled in the attraction of the coloured balloons and the hot pink fairy floss. This skill of seeing the good in everything has remained with me on all my trips to India.

The delicate touch from an elephant...what a blessing

I remember going to a temple in those first few days in India. The temple elephant was present and when you passed the elephant ten rupees he would pat your head in a blessing. Wow…we all adored this. The Indian man standing next to me witnessed our delight and he turned to me and exclaimed “Madam loves India” complete with a gorgeous head wobble. I turned to him beaming “Madam certainly does!”

14 thoughts on “I remember…my first trip to India.

  1. I don’t remember my first trip to India because I was very young. Instead, I will share a memory of a long visit to Hyderabad when I was about twelve yours old (maybe thirteen).

    I remember the freedom. I don’t mean freedom in the adult sense of the world, not political freedom, artistic freedom, press freedom, gun freedom… I mean freedom from the perspective of a child. I was free to participate in society without the need for an adult to be a chauffeur.

    I could walk with my cousins, or alone if my paranoid mother was not around, to a small private library. The library was full of old books, smelled dusty and musty, and I loved it. For a few rupees I could walk out with an arm full of books.

    Everything I needed was nearby, hundreds of shops. I could walk to a sandwich/pizza shop when I was tired of Indian food. I could step out and buy candy, ice cream, or Thums Up in minutes. That was the freedom I enjoyed. Children did not need constant supervision, and I loved it.

    • Wow…your comments really resonate with me. The freedom is a wonderful aspect of India. Travelling along squashed in a battered auto rickshaw bus, hindi music blaring and no seatbelts is a great example. My boys love to venture to the shops and grab a paratha or dosa just as you did. I really enjoyed reading about your first memories. Have a great day ~ Lakshmi x

  2. It seems everyones first trip to India is unforgettable! Certainly was for me and everyone else I have spoken to about it. India gets under the skin in a way no words can convey. Was that elephant photo from the temple in Tiruvannamalai?

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