By Julia Aaron
While being in India, I have made connections with people who I never thought I would come across in my lifetime. On just our second day in India, a small group of us spent an afternoon in Delhi with a family who personally knows Mr. Alter. Akbar, a rickshaw driver, invited us in his home with open arms and plates of food right as we arrived. We met his neighbors who lived on his street who were all excited to come into his small home and meet us. I spent the afternoon playing with the children, making dance videos, meeting countless people and making memories I will never forget. The warmth brought to the home by the family and neighbors was something I have never seen before. Akbar’s neighbor, Saju, is a boy from Delhi who lives across the street from Akbar. He invited me into his home after thinking I was tired from playing with the kids, where I met his mother, who ended up calling me her other daughter. The happiness and comfort it brought me is unexplainable. I felt like I had found a second home in India without even being here for 48 hours. Saju took me to his neighbor’s apartment, where I met multiple families and children and took what felt like a million selfies. As we were saying our goodbyes, it was a bittersweet goodbye. I was sad to leave people who I had met and become close to in such a short time, but happy because it felt like it wasn’t the last time I would see them.
I carried these types of connections into my relationship with Madhu, Suman’s sister. Throughout the entire trip, I have spent time with Madhu, who I feel like has become an older sister to me. Whether it was in Old Delhi and we were walking around the spice market holding hands or in the hotel room in Corbett when she was looking over me and said, “Kiss me baby!”, my time with Madhu has been something that I will hold close with me forever. Now as we are in Agora and our time is ending, it makes me sad to think it will be long before I see her infectious smile and hear contagious laugh again. I am lucky enough to have come as close to her as I have during our short time here. Madhu is a beautiful person who has made an impact on me, one I won’t forget.
Like Madhu, the women of my host family have made a big impact on me – making amazing food and making me feel like family while being in Agora. Although they speak almost no English, it doesn’t have an impact on our connection while we all sit in the kitchen, laughing over the roti we are failing to make. My host mother, Bachendri, is an amazing woman who is insanely strong, as are all the women in Agora, doesn’t fail to make me laugh, and always offers me more food when at times I feel like I cannot fit anything more into my stomach. Her and her daughters make the warmest and sweetest chai I have ever had, after all the cups of chai I have on this trip, the chai they make is by far the best. Their entire family is wonderful and beyond welcoming to us. The connection I have created with them is special and indescribable.
In the grand scheme of things, the entire India trip has been short. But while we’ve only been here for a little more than two weeks, the connections we’ve made are bound together by genuine love and happiness. The people of Agora and New Dehli are some of the best people I have ever met, all teaching me something along the way that I hope to take back with me. That’s why I think my relationships will live on – because I have learned something impactful. I am thankful for meeting the people I have met here, Suman, Panna, Madhu, my host family, and my new family in Delhi for the experiences I have had and the new influence they have brought onto me. I don’t think I will necessarily change the way I live but I know that I would like to incorporate what I have learned to maintain a positive mindset and mentality and not worry about the little, temporary things. I feel like I have a goal now.