Travel Diaries: Summers in India

24 hours In...

Within the first 24 hours of landing, my parents told me that they had decided to throw a 25th Anniversary Party the night after I landed. Being exhausted and jet lagged, I was not too happy about this. The only plus side of this was that I got to go shopping the next day and get an outfit for the party. The other plus was that since my Dad has between 50-100 first cousins, the amount of relatives I have is…just too many. This party would allow everyone to convene in one spot therefore making it easier to meet everyone in one night. This is me and my sister at the beginning of the night awaiting the arrival of all of ours cousins. 

Detoxing with Momma…

The heat and muggy weather in India plus the non-stop Monsoon season does nothing beneficial for your skin and hair in India. Lucky for me, my grandmother is a wiz at making natural face masks and detox teas to keep that digestive system in check. Every morning after eating breakfast, she would mix turmeric, flour, rose petals, milk and water to make a soothing face mask. After about 20 minutes you scrub the mask off so that all the baby hairs are taken off your face, and you are left with a beautiful glowing face. While sitting outside waiting for our facemasks to dry, my mom and I would sit outside and drink a mixture of warm water, honey and lemon. Sitting outside with my mom while watching the cows walk by is quality time that I will always cherish. 

Reliving the past…

While planning for my grandparent’s party, we decided that we needed to make a slideshow of all the old pictures of their many years together. While going through all the albums with my mother and grandmother, I came across this beautiful gem. This was the first time I had seen a color photo of my parents wedding. It was definitely a treat to be able to see where I came from and the beautiful Indian ceremony they had. Seeing this only made me more excited for the day when I get to be an Indian bride. 

Mid-morning snacks…

One of the perks of visiting India is that you get to eat an absurd amount of Indian food and no one can say anything about it to you. People there typically feed you till you’re about to vomit. One morning I was just dying for one of my favorite snacks, which is called, Pani Puri. If you haven’t heard of this before, it’s a thin little fried ball that is completely hollow. You poke a hole in it then fill it with various ingredients such as chickpeas and onions. After that, you pour the pani, or spicy water, in to soak it and then quickly stick it in your mouth! Your mouth gets completely consumed by spice and taste followed by a nice crunch. This is a snack you should never miss if you visit India. 

A sight to be seen…

On a bright but cloudy day, my mom decided to take me, my sister and my boyfriend, who surprised me by coming to Hyderabad, to the Birla Mandir. These temples are located all around India and are completely white. This temple was placed on top of a mountain peak, so the drive up took awhile. We weren’t allowed to take cameras or phones inside so I wasn’t able to capture the view from up top, only a photo from the parking lot. But may I say the view from the top was absolutely breathtaking. You could see the river and all the houses spread out throughout Hyderabad city. The best was the cool breeze that left you feeling amazing. The temple itself was beautiful on the inside and out. It was filled with many deities next to amazing views from the top. If you ever have the chance to visit India, visit a Birla Mandir Temple. 

Last Minute Fittings…

Due to my late arrival and quick departure, I had a limited amount of time to find the perfect outfit for my grandparents 50th Anniversary party. We ended up going to my favorite tailor to figure out if she could stitch a ghaghra (Indian skirt and top) for me, and we ended up finding the perfect cotton candy pink one that was made for an exhibition. All it needed was to be opened up a little, and then it would fit perfectly. This picture shows a last minute fitting at 10 p.m. the night before the big bash. 

Typically in India, most clothing is handmade by tailors all around India. They have workers that stitch beautifully and do intricate work with beads and thread. This tailor in particular has a knack for making outfits that are perfectly fitting and flatter your body. There is no doubt that this is the woman I want making my wedding outfits. 

Blood is thicker than water…

My dad always told me his favorite quote is “Blood is thicker than water,” meaning that family bonds will always be stronger than any other bond we have with friends or anyone else in the world. Family is the reason I visit India at the end of the day. Yes the clothes are beautiful and the food is delicious, but my grandparents are the number one reason for me to be here. I only ever get to see them every 2-3 years, so having the opportunity to take time off of my internship and visit them was something I will always be thankful for. This photo represents my mom’s side of the family, minus her older brother’s entire family, but it overall represents all the love we have for each other and all the laughter that fills the house. If I had the chance to see them every year, I would never pass that up. I must say that the saddest part of leaving India is having to say bye to my grandparents. At this old age, you never know what is going to happen, and being so far away only makes it more difficult. While leaving for the airport I tried to hold back the tears as I gave them hugs and they said “I love you megu, I miss you.” That’s why I will always be thankful for them and everything they have given me. I will always love and miss you Amamma, Nanama, and Thatha. 


Credits: Megana (@anagem12), Access Intern