In minuscule letters on a hefty LCD screen appeared the letters “Flight CX 873 now ready for boarding”. At the same time, the speakers blasted the same information in many different languages. As I headed straight towards the first long queue in my way, I prepared mentally for my long 30 hour journey, via Hong Kong to New Delhi, India. At exactly 8:10 p.m. of the next day, I was in Delhi. At 8:20, I was outside and was greeted by a number of relatives, and then shortly by a multitude of odors.
â–º Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
I lived at my aunt’s house for three days and, apart from being blasted by sun and flooded by sweat, I enjoyed the historic setting of the city. I toured monuments such as Qutub Minar, Jantar Mantar, and India Gate (http://www.tourism-delhi.com/), all of which shared an amazing quality of controlling time and transporting any traveler into the lavish and golden Indian history. Three days later, as the temperature climbed 113 degrees Fahrenheit, I hopped onto the intercity express train to reach my hometown, Sri Ganganagar (http://ganganagar.nic.in/) – the sole reason of my 8,000 miles excursion.
This place was where it had all began. Four years ago, when studying in USA seemed absurd even in dreams, I was playing cricket and eating spicy food in the very streets, where I was now going to host a ten day project on health and sanitation in a rural village. My volunteer campaign was self-funded through my tutoring company in California, and the organization I was working with was called Social Welfare and Integrated Development Society. I had established contact with them back in 2008, when I had started doing such kinds of projects. The association was a vanguard in launching awareness campaigns in the district, and had already experienced success in many of their initiatives.
The next day the project began with full intensity. The village we were going to work on was called 7 E Choti. The village was cramped in a small area, and was covered by a linear arrangement of lush green trees. However, it was poorly funded by the government. This was very clear to me the first day itself, when I almost risked falling into an open gutter. Besides the hygienic aspect, the hospitals were barely sufficient to support the population. In the next eight days, I covered concepts relating primarily to health and cleanliness, while also touching basis education and computer technology. In no time, amidst this hustle and bustle, the calendar in my grandparent’s living room turned its leaf to 3rd July, the ending session of the project. I addressed my audience for the last time, and was humbled to see the respect and synergy we had developed over a short duration of ten days. Furthermore, I had the privilege to use the money earned through my tutoring classes to fund towards a brighter education of three young aspiring students, who didn’t have strong financial backgrounds. With a first-class project completed, an honest deed done, and a wonderful time spent, the tour came to an end as I bid farewell to my companions, my loving audience, and my caring hometown.
I retraced my journey back to the United States, and straightway life resumed normally in San Jose with SAT preparation and college selection. But amidst all this hysteria, was a chapter of my life stored securely along the most memorable moments of my life. I am still ecstatic over the entire trip, and plan to host more projects in the future, and besides Indian street food is just too precious to be missed.
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