And so the journey continues with our second day in Delhi. Just as the previous morning, we woke up fairly early to enjoy another delicious Indian breakfast. Some were still rather sleepy-eyed as the battle with jet lag carries on. After breakfast we had the opportunity to visit the Gandhi Memorial, a site that, as one can imagine, is highly honored among the Indian people. We were asked to remove our shoes as we made our way into the garden that held his gravesite. As readers, you may come to notice that describing such places in India in the ways that it deserves is not an easy task. But I speak for the group when I say that these experiences are ones that are highly regarded and ones that will never be forgotten.
Just as we had found a peaceful spot for us to listen to Dr. Tulsi describe the rich history of Gandhi, our group was approached by a number of guards instructing us to leave the premises immediately. Confused and a little alarmed, Dr. Tulsi approached the guard for some sort of explanation and returned to share with us that the President of India and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh would be meeting there the following day, and grounds had to be cleared and scanned for security purposes. It didn’t take much time for us to realize that had we been just 15 minutes later, we may have missed out on the experience altogether. Some things are just meant to be.
As we left the memorial site, Tulsi shared with us that he wanted to find another quiet spot where he could continue sharing about the incredible impact that Gandhi had on the country of India. Sure, we have read information from textbooks or seen movies, but to have the opportunity to hear about the sacredness of Gandhi from a native of India was a far greater lesson than what is found in textbooks. After Tulsi had finished, we meditated as a group for two minutes. Whether it be for two minutes or two hours, meditating in a park in India while allowing yourself to feel own existences is an experience within itself.
As we left the park, we made our way to the YMCA to once again enjoy afternoon coffee and tea. We gathered outside as we prepared ourselves for the next step of the journey. Again, Dr. Tulsi gave us the honor of sharing his personal connections with the city of Agra and explaining to us his own spiritual path. Trying to rephrase his beautifully spoken words is an impossible task, but we trust that over the next few days you will begin to understand the wonder that is to come through our experiences in Agra (the city of the Taj Mahal).
As we left the YMCA, we loaded up in our bus once again and set out for a four-hour bus ride (give and take) to the city of Agra where we checked into our second hotel. From what we could see Agra, is a city full of life and meaning for many who come and live here. The traffic is still hectic, but horns are honked far less often, which Tulsi describes as a known way of showing respect for the city.
As a group we are wiped out and in much need of some rest and relaxation. We will leave you with a few more things we learned along the way:
1. A bus that frequently slams on its breaks or is forced to swerve to avoid hitting people or other vehicles may not seem like the ideal place to play charades. But who makes those rules anyway? Don’t worry, there were no injuries.
When deciding to embrace the food of India and randomly choosing an item on the menu, don’t be surprised if the waiter tells you that’s no good and picks a dish for you.