Written by Chally Korn, (University of Tampa), Student Correspondent UW in India: Delhi, Summer 2019
Dogs. Dogs are everywhere when I first step foot outside of the Delhi Airport on the early morning of June 12th. Early morning is approximately 0200. After the initial shock of witnessing dogs roaming freely at the airport, the heat hit me next. I knew it was going to be hot, but it was 0200 and I felt droplets of sweat already sliding down my back in the 98 degree weather. “Here we go,” I thought to myself with anticipation and excitement, as I climbed into the back of the taxi.
I ended up in India off a whim. The adventurous spirit inside of me was craving enlightenment and what better place to become enlightened than India. I knew close to nothing about India when I got here so my knowledge has been ceaseless. Therefore, the topic of my first blog post will be the experiences that completely took me by surprise.
The Parks. Delhi is ranked as one of the most populated cities in the world. Due to this, I didn’t consider the great accessibility to parks in my vicinity. My trek home from the metro in the afternoon heat triggered me to seek out somewhere halfway home to find some relief.
On this particular afternoon, I was alone and ready to change up my routine. I entered the park through a narrow gateway and was greeted by a large open green space and many other locals who had the same idea as me, or rather I had finally caught onto their special tradition of going to the park in the late afternoon. Children were scattered about playing cricket and climbing on a heavily used playground. Many years of monsoons, scorching summers and energetic children wore the mustard yellow and rust red paint off to reveal a shiny metal frame. I shared a smile with myself as I bounced down the steps and onto the walking path that hugged the outskirts of the enclosed park. I walked a couple of laps around the park, basking in the glory of naturally provided shade, sharing glances with the man who passed me every time he jogged by and then the two separate groups of ladies who were lost within their conversations during their social hour here. A fragile woman fanned herself, perched upon a park bench with hair bright white, life’s a sure sign that she’d seen many years.
After my visit to my block park, my roommate and I set out to explore Lodi Gardens that weekend. Delhi’s oasis of serenity, peace and silence welcomes all. Tombs and many ruins are scattered across the many acres here. Birds and geese roam freely and you are likely to run into a yoga class or exercise class happening underneath a large tree. Parks of all shapes and sizes are intertwined into Delhi’s city life creating a balance where many people go to reset and socialize. They’re easy to find so I highly recommend taking a moment in order to explore the nature peeking out from the city sidewalks.
Kati Rolls. A mouthwatering Indian style egg dough burrito. This particular food item has picked up my spirits and made my taste buds dance. They can be located in a typical market setting. Cooked on a large tawa, the dough is splashed with an egg and is referred to parantha. The chicken (what I typically order, but paneer is the popular vegetarian alternative) comes in cube form, straight off the skewer. The name Kati comes from Bengal, referring to the bamboo stick that chicken skewers are typically served on.
The cubed chicken and onions are wrapped in the moist and chewy paratha and served with a baggy of green chutney sauce. To eat with as little mess a possible, I will bite the corner of the chutney bag open so I have an easily pourable spout. Drizzle heavily onto the roll and devour. The combination of the slightly spicy chicken, savory paratha, crunchy onions and cool chutney blend beautifully into my favorite Indian dish that one cannot leave India without giving a try.
Cover photo caption: Juxtaposition on a typical Indian street between the new and the old