Wiser fools than I have said, "the key to enjoying India, is to accept India. Forget everything you know, disregard every norm, and just accept the world as it happens around you."
I won't lie, India's initial impression is something of an assault on the senses. The constant blaring of horns, the blur of interactions, the pungent smells, the lack of discrepancy for public hygiene, the hordes of people, the free roaming cattle.
Never in my life, have I been so engrossed in the constant hustle of crowds. New York, is calm, quiet, and sparsely populated in comparison to the cities and bazaars of India.
Mindfully, I've been letting go of what I "expect" India to be. Instead, I've been calling on yoga principles to employ a meditation in movement approach to discovering the country. I want to see and learn as my as I can while in South Asia, while balancing my need for personal space and calmness.
Driving in India is another story all together. Prior to visiting the country, I had thought the stories of India traffic jams were simply old wives tales, meant to scare teenagers into being better drivers. Nope. The story's I once believed to be vastly exaggerated, are actually grossly conservative in their depiction. Indian traffic, is utter (literally) madness!
Cows, monkeys, goats, dogs, rickshaws, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, trucks, busses, excavators, pedestrians, are all in a constant battle for right of way. It's maddening!
Thankfully, we hired Unwind India to help us with our trip details, and to secure us a driver. India is not a place I would want to be behind the wheel.
As overwhelming as my first impressions of the country are, I'm adjusting. The people are warm, curious, and eager to share their culture with you. So far, India is a humbling lesson in gratitude and compassion.