Posted by Tricia Ben-Davies
I awoke early to say "See you later" to Delhi. As I look down from the second floor balcony, I am reassured that she will be the same when we return. Cows are roaming the streets. The men set up their goods for the day. Children carrying disgarded potato sacks continue to rummage through the streets for rubbish to call their own. Delhi is unapologetically real, a realness that is both impressive and unfortunate. I am facinated that in 2007 donkeys pulling carts and Indian Techno ringtones exist in the same space!
India has welcomed us with open arms. Indians are intrigued by foreigners. Sometimes it seems that they only see us as an opportunity to sell something. Other times it is our varying skin tones and hair color that often result in stares and photo ops. Our experience at the Red Fort in Delhi is something that will never leave me.
The Mugal emperor Shah Jahan built the fort in the 17th century. The Red Fort is a great expression on Mugal art. The structures are made of red sand stone and marble decorated with semi precious stones. As we moved throughout the compound, we began to draw a crowd.
At one point I was sitting on top of a ledge and a family walked by. Their slow pace and eager smiles made me smile as well. In India, all it takes is a smile and eye contact for someone to aproach you.
I was expecting for us to simply exchange greetings maybe even take a picture or two, but I was wildly mistaken. The father took his daughter from his wife and held her out to me. I was shocked, amazed and elated. I was amost brought to tears but then I quickly thought of how confused the family would be if I started crying tears of joy. The little girl could not have been more than a year old. She had the most gorgeous little brown eyes!
I do not know what makes a person hand a stranger their baby. Maybe it meant nothing. Maybe her father just wanted her to be photographed with a real live African. Or maybe just by holding her, he wanted me to experience even an ounce of happiness that she brings to his family.
Delhi has introduced me to the genuine love that lives in India.