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July 30, 2023

Hello from the colorful streets of New Delhi, India! – Aanya Arora, BArch 24

by Aanya Arora

Sunday 23rd July 2023

Hello from the colorful streets of New Delhi, India!

It is 95°F with a humidity of 75% so I am already feeling the heat of Delhi summers!
Over the past couple of days, my experiences in India have been quite eventful and exciting. One of the highlights was spending time with my loving grandmother, who has gone above and beyond to make me feel welcome. She has constantly offering and insisting I try all sorts of delicious foods. Her warmth and hospitality have made me feel truly special. She took me to a bustling street market called ‘Janpath’ and saw a treasure trove of the most amazing jewelry and clothing collections. The craftsmanship and intricate designs of the jewelry left me in awe, from the delicate silver anklets to the dazzling array of earrings. The clothing stalls were equally enchanting, showcasing a kaleidoscope of fabrics and patterns, ranging from elegant sarees adorned with exquisite embroidery to contemporary and stylish Kurtis.

Another remarkable experience was taking my first ride on the Delhi metro. Unlike the bustling and complicated NYC subway system, the Delhi metro was refreshingly simple to navigate, impeccably clean, and felt extremely safe. It left me with a sense of wonder at how efficiently it serves the city’s population.

Delhi Metro

In the heart of Old Delhi, I explored the Paper Market in Chandni Chowk, a vibrant shopping area. It’s a wholesale paradise where I managed to purchase workshop supplies at incredibly low prices. The variety of materials available there was astonishing, from resin beads to an impressive range of pens. I even met an entrepreneurial gentleman who made a living by selling every type of tape you could think of!

Paper Market in Chandni Chowk
Vendor at the Paper Market

As I prepare for the workshops, I’ve been meticulously crafting lesson plans and demonstrations to engage the participants effectively. However, I must admit that I’m feeling a bit nervous about speaking in Hindi. Technical words, such as those related to bridge building, pose a challenge for me as I’m unsure about their accurate translation and pronunciation. Fortunately, the helpful folks at Chintan assured me that using English for such terms would be well understood or even serve as a learning opportunity for the children.

Examples for the ice breaker workshop with the children – Design Your Own Superhero
Prototypes for the Bridge Building Workshop

Being in New Delhi has exposed me to several intriguing developments. The city is rapidly embracing technology, with even local fruit and vegetable vendors accepting mobile banking services like Paytm (a service similar to Venmo). I’ve also noticed a growing effort to raise awareness about environmental issues. Signs promoting energy conservation and the use of LED light bulbs can be found at various locations, demonstrating the city’s commitment to sustainability. Moreover, the implementation of waste separation bins throughout the city showcases a dedication to promoting recycling and composting practices.

Environmental advocacy efforts around New Delhi, India

The pace of infrastructure development in India is astounding. The construction of over 5000 kilometers of National Highways in 2022 alone has significantly improved public access and transportation. This progress bodes well for the future of the country and the convenience of its citizens.
So far my time in New Delhi has been filled with enriching experiences and eye-opening observations.

I look forward to more adventures and discoveries as I continue my journey here.

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