Roman Malanke

First Experience of India

Eight days in India have passed quickly, and in one hour I will commence my long way back home. These have been incredible eight days, probably the most dense ever on new experiences. All objectives I had set for the trip have been accomplished, both on work-related and touristic fronts. I met many energized and inspiring people in local offices of my company and covered incredible amount of attractions in only three days I had for sightseeing. The latter wouldn’t be possible without kindness of my colleagues, who helped me plan the most efficient routes, and then took their personal time to accompany me on them.

My biggest impression of the whole trip has been food. I haven’t experienced such variety and intensity of flavors in any other place. Indian cuisine truly makes the most out of human taste receptors and for an unprepared one actually stress tests them. I fell in love with all main vegetarian items including paratha breads, curd-based dishes, achar pickle, and great variety of chutneys. I tried some delicious desserts, of which gulab jamun balls and a cup of masala chai take my first prize. In addition to that I discovered two amazing fruits: mosambi and zapota. Most likely I’ll start missing it all very soon and will have to ask my wife to cook something Indian.

The second biggest impression is the way people drive. During my first cab ride it seemed complete and utter madness. Everybody changed lanes incessantly and beeped literally all the time. Distances between most cars, motorcycles, bikes, and omnipresent rickshaws could be measured in inches. Then gradually I’ve started to realize that it’s simply a different paradigm of behavior on the road. Instead of people in the front being responsible for looking in rearview mirrors, not changing lanes suddenly, and signaling when wishing to do so, here it’s the responsibility of the one behind to make everyone aware of his presence by constant honking. Instead of following priority rules at intersections, here the one who comes first gets priority, with the only condition of loud honking when approaching, of course. Even though I got accustomed to all this as a passenger by the end of my stay, I still wouldn’t drive here. I think after my return to Ukraine I will reconsider my opinion about how orderly Ukrainian roads are.

The third place in my impression list divide between themselves all the cultural and historical landmarks that I’ve seen. In Delhi area I’ve visited Lotus Temple, Dilli Haat market, president’s house Rashtrapati Bhavan, parliament of India Sansad Bhavan, India Gate monument, the Red Fort, the majestic Akshardham temple. One day I dedicated to visit ancient Agra, where I saw in my own eyes, and even touched with my own hands, the one and only Taj Mahal. My last destination, the city of Hyderabad met me with wonderful sunny weather and incredible mix of antique and cyber feels. In it I visited glorious Charminar monument, tranquil and beautiful Birla temple, and took a boat ride to impressive Buddha statue in the middle of Husain Sagar Lake.

The one and only disappointment of the trip was complete absence of decent manhole covers. The only five specimens that I added to my collection were quite ugly, and not even made of real metal. This made me realize that urban sewer hatches art isn’t as uniform and ubiquitous in the world as I thought.

I’m sure that I will visit India many more times and each time will have something new to discover in this great land. More visual snapshots of my impressions from this visit can be seen in this photo album. And now, back to Europe!