On our last night, my friends and I decided to take a walk around Connaught Place to find a restaurant where we could have a nice dinner. On the short walk over, I noticed that the center of Connaught Place was filled with rows of tents, lines of people going into them, and lots of Indian flag and other national memorabilia being sold on the streets. It wasn’t until then that I realized the city was gearing up for its weekend celebration of Indian Independence Day.
It is hard to tell if the streets were busier than usual, since Delhi proved to be such a populated place. But what I can say is that the peoples’ spirits were high and the energy on the street was very festive. A number of giant Indian flags could be seen billowing proudly in the air all over the place, while mini flags and balloons consisting of the national colors, were being sold from street vendors. And on top of it all, was the everyday mish-mosh of things being sold on the street, from bead necklaces, to leather wallets, to colorful bags in all shapes and sizes. All of this, taking place on the walkway of what seems to be an outdoor mall, with proper storefronts and western brands.
As the sun went down and our appetites grew, we found ourselves at a rooftop restaurant with outdoor seating. (Forgive me for not remembering the name!) The air was humid and thick, but we were used to it by now. The cold beers we ordered fixed that immediately! And after milling through the menu, we placed our order and relaxed for one last time before leaving the bustling city. We also sat right on time to see a firework show, which definitely added to the magic.
After a delicious and satisfying dinner, it was time to wander over to where all the action was happening. We went to check out the tents and see what all the commotion was about. Once we were through the security checkpoint, we found ourselves amidst walkways filled with posters depicting India’s history, and lined with streamers colored with deep saffron, white and India green. It all led past an outdoor stage, where dancers performed to tradition music, with an oral and visual presentation of India’s independence history in between each number. Unfortunately, we caught the tail end of the performance, and I could barely see over the enormous crowd watching the dancers. But nonetheless, I was happy that we fulfilled our curiosities. It was only to add to the collection of wonderful memories I made on this trip.
Eventually, it was time to head back to the hotel. My time in India was coming to an end, and as it always feels, my time was too short. Yet there was a lot that I was able to see, both expected and unexpected. I feel the utmost amount of humility after this experience. And I can honestly say, it has so far been the most fulfilling trip I’ve taken. Not only because India has been on the top of my list for years, but this country, and its people, have given me a new appreciation for the things that we can easily take for granted in our daily lives. So for that, I am extremely grateful, and cannot wait to return and visit another city in this beautiful country.
But until then, its off to London!