Week 4: Saris, Exams, and Train Travel


This past week was a fairly standard school week, with the exception of our first Hindi exam on Friday. After class on Tuesday many of us went shopping for saris. It was highly amusing seeing twelve American girls crowded into a very compact sari shop located in the heart of the old city. Miraculously, I ended up deciding upon a sari that evening with the help of some very persuasive classmates. The way home ended up being a slightly precarious journey, as the rickshaw driver did not seem to know how to get anywhere we directed him. After stopping for directions at least ten times, calling a staff member for help, and continuously yelling from the backseat, I finally made it home in time for dinner.


On Wednesday we continued our student-led presentations, and then had our “Hindi drop-off.” The instructions for this assignment were to bargain with a rickshaw driver, and then buy fruits or vegetables at a local market. The temptation was too strong to resist, so I bought two cucumbers.


On Thursday we started with a lecture about Gandhi. Afterwards, we were given time to study for our upcoming Hindi exam. I continued studying at home until I could study no longer. That night my homestay family gave me three brownies for dessert.


On Friday morning we finally had our Hindi exam, and it wasn’t overwhelmingly terrible. We laughed, we cried, and we played badminton to get rid of our nerves. I was most nervous about the oral exam, but I powered through. After class, we split up into groups in order to get accessories for our saris. I was confused and stressed out, but eventually found a petticoat that would match my sari. (I tried to hide my shoppers’ fatigue, but eventually gave up and started playing Batman on my phone ­– like the teenage boy that I am).


Our next mission was to get blouses tailored for our saris. After succeeding in this task, I felt decidedly more calm. Subsequently, we returned to the SIT center to prepare for our overnight train journey. When we got there, the pizza had arrived and a movie, (August Rush), was playing on the projector. While the pizza had a very odd-tasting stuffed crust, it was nice to have our version of a movie night right there at the SIT center.


Later that evening, we arrived at the train station to begin our journey to Dehradun, the destination of our first excursion as a group. We all got separated into groups to find our spots on the sleeper car. While the idea of sleeping on a train is fun, my body was in protest the next day. Despite taking two Benadryl, the rocking motion of the train and the narrow sleeping quarters made for a fairly sleepless night. After we arrived at the station, it was another two hours by bus until we arrived at Dehradun, where we had our first full meal of the day.


Our sleeping quarters, located at the headquarters of an organization called RLEK, were significantly nicer than our last experience in Agra. I took an American-style overhead shower for the first time in weeks, and came very close to shedding a tear. For dinner we went to a place called “Chicken Inn,” where the chicken we ordered was hanging from the window. No one got sick, although I am currently dealing with an ill-timed cold. To make up for the brevity of this post, stay tuned for next week’s blog where I will relay the full details of our excursion.


Until next time,


A sick vegetable

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