Some random impressions of “emotions” provided by my recent tour of New Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur, India.
1. Bask in the vivid contrast of color.
Feel the feminine beauty of a beautiful sari on a dust-clocked path. Feast your eyes on freshly ripened fruit in the crowded markets of Old Delhi. Marvel at the complexity of hue designs that cover elephant skin. Feel exhilaration at the first sighting of the endless New Delhi skyline as your plane emerges into polluted grayness below the clear stratosphere above.
2. Explore a variety of spiritual meanings from your India experience.
Rise before dawn and feel the mystical callings of the Islamic Muezzin’s call to prayer. Relax in quiet contemplation during the coolness of sunrise as your eyes feast on the first sighting of pale whiteness in the distant Taj Mahal. Accept the love of Hindu spirit from a smiling, Indian stranger as they place a sacred, red dot on your forehead for good fortune. Dare to cover your head, men, and feel respect for the Sikh religion today. Honor their tradition of wearing a turban.
3. Frequent traditional Indian restaurants/local food stands with caution.
Sample foods for excessive spice before you order. When the taste of your meal is in question. rice and bread can be easily substituted. Drink bottled water to avoid bacterial crisis in your stomach. Do not assume salads are healthy for you here. Eat cooked food only when possible.
4. Exhibit patience in matter of security.
Expect long queues at immigration clearance areas of airports. Have all your paperwork ready for agonizingly slow screening by custom officials. Do not expect tour guide will handle your security clearance into India. Avoid taking pictures in any customs area. Be ready to experience separate male and female security lines at major attractions.
5. Imagine you are a personal witness to the storied history of India’s colonial past.
Join an elephant caravan to the heights of Jaipur’s Amber Fort. Hire a Tuk-Tuk driver to arouse your curiosity as you customize your itinerary of forts and monuments. Be curious to understand the rules of cricket as you wonder why each game takes so long. Absorb your mind in the daily interactions of caste society on the streets beyond your hotel. Where would you place yourself in India’s caste society?
6. You must learn to emotionally cope with the incessant presence of souvenir hawkers.
Avoid buying out of pity. In tour-sanctioned shops, wander on your own to avoid high pressure sales. Many stores have extensive back inventory displays for better deals. Deeply contemplate your wants vs. needs when shopping. Be aware of stray animals and snakes used as emotional ploys for spending money. Consider silence as an effective price-bargaining tool.