First, the loves. In no particular order.
- I was popular. No, really, I was. On a couple of occasions I actually stopped on the street and waved like a Hollywood star – and got wave-backs too! People stopped me requesting me to take picture with their babies, mothers and wives. Pretty little girls and grown-ups a like. Did I mention it was insisted I carry the babies in my arms while the pictures were getting taken? In their defence [why am I defending them, I’m a pretty awesome person that deserves all the popularity the universe may send her way, aren’t I] : i) For most people, I was the first African they had ever seen. I really hadn’t anticipated that, what with TV, the recent World Cup in Africa and all the talk about Global Village-ism. ii) At 5’11, I naturally stand out (and not just in India). iii) I religiously never go anywhere without my red YSL lipstick on. I’ve noticed that gets a few more heads to turn my way. Not my intention but hey, when life gives you lemons, et cetera. I promise I’m not vain. Just frank.
- Soan Papdi – a certain spongy type of sweets. There are about a zillion types of sweets in India. There’s one called Gulab Jamun. Put simply, these are balls of milk (yes!) floating in a sugar syrup. Yeah, how about that? And no, obesity isn’t the greatest non-communicable disease there; it’s actually hair-loss. Seriously, I checked.
- Swings inside the house – this is a very Asian thing. I wondered, did these swings have anything to do with the hot (painfully hot!) climate – you know, a breeze is generated as you swing to and fro, bringing on a cooling effect – or were they just for the love of comfort and love for palatial comforts that’s common in Asia? I concluded both.
- I made some great friends. And met a kindred soul, too. The most thoughtful, selfless, generous girl I ever met.
- The shopping malls weren’t bad at all. At all.
- The roads – way smoother and wider than those in my native homeland. Ever heard of the pot-hole capital of the world?
- The Taj Mahal. This should probably be higher up in this list but like I said, in no particular order. The Taj is truly a work of splendour. It’s beauty is amazing, and so is the love that inspired it.
- I got to see a real-life fort. Make that two. The Red Fort and Agra Fort. I love fairy tales, princes, knights and all that. So seeing some real-life forts was pretty awesome.
- The number of women riding scooters and motor bikes. I still aspire to join that elite league.
- India is the only country in this big wide world where each state speaks it’s own language (in addition to the common national language – Hindi), has it’s own unique cuisine and dress type. Now there’s one huge dose of unity in diversity for you.