Garang Chai meets Teh Tarik ( Part 1)

Assalamualaikum and good ________________ !

It has been quite a while since I've written anything informative or inspiring in a way. It always happen that I have so many things to talk about - oh this should be in my blog! And when I'm out of the bathroom, the 'deep thinking motion' vanished and I lost that flow of idea. Therefore, since I have just got back from an interfacing programme in India, I'm going to share a little bit of everything in this post. Do enjoy it :)

      I was already on the aeroplane, seat belt sealed tight. From the tray sized window, I can see the runway, it was ready for take off. The aeroplane starts to speed up and then I felt the pull, I was taken aback to my seat. I was off the from Indian soil. I can’t help but to smile silently in satisfaction. The boxy buildings and roads started to look like miniature models; the plane was heading up for sure. There were endless sea of clouds that looked like cotton candies and I was very delighted. I am high up in the sky, it felt free and peaceful – it was serene. Then memories and the events that occurred within the 8 days journey starting from 16th till 23rd January 2012 started to flow in sequence. 

16th January 2012

       When we arrived at Chennai airport (our first transit before going to New Delhi) after the 5 hours flight, my ears was in pain. I tried to 'pop' it out, but the buzz didn't go away. It was such a discomfort, it felt like a very sharp point drilled into my ear lobe up till the ear drum. I was unable to hear my own voice clearly. That pain continued for the 3 hours until our next domestic flight.

*If you are suffering from flu, it is most likely that you will get this. Therefore it is advisable to chew on bubblegum and drink lots of water to reduce it.

Chennai Airport (Source : Google)

       However that doesn't stop me from checking the place out ; the structure of the building, I can say that it was built without proper planning. Some part look like as if - okay got budget : we continue, no budget : stop the construction, little budget : use cheap material,  bigger budget : now build glass walls on this side! The facility especially the loo ; our shopping mall toilets are much better compared to it. Later, we had a quick discussion with Professor Turiman on what to write in our reports and a brief speech on our schedule in New Delhi. Finally, after hours of waiting, at 2 p.m we got on Jet Airways and flew to our main destination. 

       At exactly 4.10 p.m, we arrived in New Delhi International Airport. Spread over 120 acres of land, the interior design with steel and glass as its concept is a great introduction to the contemporary side of India. The terminals features a huge Buddha head and one of the eye catching piece that got people talking are the 2 metre high hands in Indian classical dance which stick out from the main wall.  

( Source : Google )

Then, there were paintings from famous artists that hung above the walls

The music instruments in India (Source : writer's)

For art lovers, this airport is like those sweet treats you have before savouring  the main dish. It is just enough to get us into the whole Indian feel. All in all, the airport did cost the government a whopping of £2 billion. As soon as we picked up our luggage, our tourist guide Mr. Bashir came and showed us to the bus. I'm guessing he's around 52 years old but he is still very charming .

       We were on the way to a restaurant for dinner (it was already dark at 5 p.m) when I saw these homeless people including woman and children living under tents that were tied on tree branches on the road sides, fences or any electrical pole that they can find; some even live behind the bushes in the city gardens.  These unfortunate people gathered around small fire made out of dried leaves and sticks; what came to mind was how can they survive without proper shelter under this cold whether? The roads were covered with reddish dirt, and the air feels dry, I can't imagine myself having to survive such harsh condition. There was this baby, he was being held by his mother close to the chest, but he was not wearing any pants. Even with my coats on, I shiver a bit, and that poor child does not have anything on to cover his bottom. Within split second, somehow I managed to capture the look in the mother's eyes and saw her desperation. She was not the only one, along the roads similar situation could be seen. I was told that, these people are not even approved as the legal citizen of India, they do not have the right to vote for their leader or even to have a loan borrowed from a bank. In simpler words they would remain in that dreadful state from generations to the next. What they can do is to beg and collect things that can still be used from the rubbish dump sites. I believe that the caste system still have its strong influence within Indian society. The government refused to do anything about it, therefore when they built their 'houses' the authority cannot simple shoo them away. For the record, 6 million people in New Delhi are homeless people, roaming without any approved identity. 

       About 2 hours later, we reached the restaurant. What a different atmosphere it was. The restaurant was a private dining area; the room was painted with bright fuchsia, tables with napkins and  a set of basic cutlery 
as you can see.. (Source : Writer's )
       The introduction meal was similar to our local food. The special part of the dinner is the starter, we were served with vegetable soup in a brass bowl. It was warm, lightly salted and the sweetness of vegetables simply cleans out the palate with a refreshing sensation. My stomach is pleasantly greeted with that soothing soup. That night, I had some tandoori chicken, chilli chicken (slightly sour), fried veggies, some noodle and basmathi rice. We learned our first hundustan language - called up the waiter and said 'Garang pani' while pointing to the empty glass. It is 'warm water' ! Easy right? After they have served dessert, we were entertained by the dancers who performed India's oldest cultural dance. Some of us even joined in. It was very entertaining.

Then the rest of the night was spent on the bus, heading up to Chandigarh in Punjab 
(Chandigarh is Punjab's Putrajaya). 

A well-known French architect, named Le Corbusier, took the charge of giving the city a modern look. He further appointed a team, who worked under his supervision and guidance. The team decided to work in two phases. While designing the city, factors like pollution, traffic, travel and tourism and other environmental aspects were borne in mind. This is how Chandigarh turned into a well-planned capital city of Punjab, India.  (Original Source

As the clock hits 1 a.m, the temperature further dropped and I can see my own breath. Inside the bus, my mineral water is cold just like the ones inside our refrigerator back at home. For the first time, I was experiencing winter, it sure was a tough adaptation for my body. I had to double my woollen sock, wear my hand gloves and put them inside my coats, the chill was unbearable as the bloody bus does not have any heater. To make it worse, I cannot sleep well due to the fact that the bus driver was pretending to be a F1 driver on the 'highway'. 

It was such an experience, he was speeding up despite the roads were filled with cars, lorries, bicycles and those tut tut ( similar to a rickshaw ). He did not use any light signals, he was honking every time he wanedt to make a turn, to pass another car and basically for everything! The rest of the drivers there were the same, honking is the norm. As a result, it was extremely noisy. Plus, he took frequent unexpected break and another HONK! he want to cut this line of cars, he HONKS again all the way.The 3 lined roads become 6  lines. I was pretty much irritated with that, what was on my mind ' Malaysian drivers are so polite, and our highways are the best!' I can't believe I said that, but I did. If we ever place any mat rempit here in India, they would be dead by seconds.

After such long journey from Malaysia up to Chandigarh, thank Mighty Lord, we arrived at Commonwealth Youth Centre around 3 a.m in the morning. We checked in the hostels, packed a few stuff and off we were to slumber land. 

End of Day 1.

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