Truly befitting that all these pictures actually didn’t all see the light of day, and in some ways it’s some sort of redemption for not blogging for literal years, that my blog is the place these pictures get shared 😆😆😆
It was late last year, that I got the invitation to travel to India for work. That’s another thought for another day, but I’ll say this much, I am in AWE of everything my Father God has done in my life. When I posted that #BIGCITYLIFE post about three years ago, I had no idea what this new phase really meant and what God was doing. Anyway, back to India…
The trip both happened and passed way too fast, I entered the motherland in 21 February 2017 🇮🇳 I am really so grateful for the opportunity. I met interesting characters, had people trying to speak to me in Hindi 🙈, ate the most amazing food and got a culture shock of note.
Considering that the pictures have been uploaded in no particular order, I’m going to just go through them and apologize for the lack of structure in this blog.
The hotel: Having travelled for work, I was fortunate to stay in the prestigious and absolutely breathtakingly beautiful TAJ Mahal Palace. Wow, this hotel is both asethically but also structurally beautiful. The hotel was the first luxury hotel built in Mumbai (oh, I didn’t mention that that is where I visited, Mumbai) and is rich with history. The TAJ boasts an opulent hallway of pictures, newspaper articles and the like showcasing the hotel’s history, like a mini musuem. It was surreal to take in the richness of the legacy of the hotel. On my last morning there, I actually saw a group of school kids who were on an excursion, and the teacher was probably giving them their history lesson on the hotel – cute little kids! The hotel overlooks the Gateway of India, which for me was quite poignant, and I’ll elaborate on that a bit later but I was taken by the irony that the Gateway, being the way through which the British entered India, was also the birthing of the migration of my own forefathers to South Africa, so for me it was quite monumentous to visit this heritage site. The TAJ also has an effortless elegance, and not just in its appearance, but one feels extremely honoured to see the wall of fame of the many a famous face that shared the TAJ, below is the famous and iconic Amitabh Bachchan who also visited the hotel, and you can see Oprah also in the picture below. I can’t help but wonder if they too stayed in the luxury suite which I was pleasantly surprised to have been upgraded to 😝😌
Tea, tea, tea: Now, one of the things I learnt about India whilst I was there, is that in actuality, the South African Indians and the India Indians (the real ones, we’re not 100% Indian, I mean I can’t even speak Hindi… except for the words I shouldn’t know) do have a lot in common. One of which has to be our love for tea. I am yet to strike the balance of the perfect cup of masala Chai but needless to saw I had this beaut every second I had a chance to. It also doesn’t hurt that most times a cut e little Indian guy was serving it, maybe that’s where the balance comes in, I need me a cute Indian hahaha 😂
I did mention that the food was BEYOND amazing in India and I have not had so much paneer in my entire existence. The best part, the paneer is done in so many different ways it made it all the more yummy. This was a paneer entré to our dinner one night – sheer brilliance and yumminess on another level!!
Ok, here’s proof that I stayed at the TAJ 😂 seriously though, what a privilege. There were locals outside every morning at basically the crack of dawn taking in the beauty of the hotel and the Gateway, and here I was living IN the hotel! Plus, this picture is extra special because you get to see some locals. On that note, and I feel qualified to say this because I am of Indian descent and this will in no means be racist or derogatory, but I have NEVER seen so many Indians before in my WHOLE life!! I mean EVERYONE is Indian! I come from a city in South Africa which is actually known to have the largest population of Indians in one place outside of India so I guess I’m qualified to say I’ve seen Indians in their dozens, but India has nothing on South Africa 😂🙈 but that’s why India is the mother land hey.
This was taken whilst I was exploring the streets of Mumbai ❤
And then there was samoosas. Now in South Africa, I’m used to something a lot different from the samosa I encountered in Mumbai, and it did taste different but it was good.
Oh, and then I had a bunny chow!!! A purely South African Indian dish, all the way in India!! I couldn’t believe my eyes and I had to have it, albeit very expensive and rather small compared to the ones here in South Africa lol. What was more impressive though was the waiter’s knowledge of the legends behind the origin of the bunny chow, and then I smiled and told him I was actually a South African Indian and familiar with the legends… he wasn’t too bad looking either 😅
Here’s a snapshot of that little museum I referred to earlier, that’s located in the hotel. I forgot to mention, the hotel has thee best and most friendliest staff ever, I literally didn’t want to leave them lol. Plus a few Indian eye candy made the stay more pleasant. The TAJ has this tradition when you enter where they welcome you, with a garland, it’s really quite quaint. The hotel also smells amazing, like a fresh lemony aroma that infiltrates every area of the hotel.
I did mention that my hotel room was upgraded, so this is the view from my room. It’s amazing how what you’ve heard of India is true, opulent wealth next to abject poverty, it’s actually really sad.
The following two pictures are ones I found to be quite interesting, the geographic setup of India in the 4th Cenurty BC and from 1228-1826
More views of the streets
Now this picture is beautiful because of the gorgeous garden but also because this is the Gatway, and it’s something that really stood out for me on this trip. It’s directly linked to my own story, and history. And it’s also where people tried to talk to me in Hindi lol
Beautiful Mumbai ❤❤❤
PS I was seeing these views with the hottest Brit guy speaking in that beautiful British accent which I could go weak for, haha talk about background music … ok I’m done referring to guys in this blog 😂
Anwayyyyyyy, then came the most emotional part of the trip. Well it actually started with this part, but I’m glad this post ends with these pictures. As I flew into Mumbai, this was my view, I literally then bawled my eyes out at that moment. And I will insert the extract from my Facebook, posted a few hours after being in the motherland:
“Vanakkam 😁😁😁! Yo, India waaaazup! My genes haven’t seen you in a while, like 150 years or so!
Seriously though, when I learnt of my trip I was so excited to say that line. However, actually being here is something I was COMPLETELY not ready for. Flying over the city of Mumbai was an emotional experience for me, as I got a chance to ponder, to consider the grace of my Father not just in creating opportunities but at the sheer awesomeness of His plan over my (and my family, and like 70% of my Facebook friends lives, who also hail from Indian descents)! If not for His grace!!!!
And then I touch down in Mumbai, and the airport has a bagpipe instrumental of ‘Amazing Grace’ playing! Imagine!!!!
I also want to thank my family and friends for all your love and prayers, this first venture has had its challenges so far (like a misplaced cellphone lol) but I am grateful for the grace and blessing you’ve sent me with.
India, what a beautiful land. Hope to go back someday ❤