After the short trip to Guntur for the wedding last week, I am enjoying time back in Hyderabad. Our AIFS director took us on a day trip around the city over the weekend; aside from that, I have been spending time on campus and in Tagore. This week was a mellow one for me personally.
The day trip last Saturday was actually an overdue little city tour. We went to Birla Mandir, a Hindu temple of white marble near the center of Hyderabad. The second site was Lumbini Park. We walked through the park to get to boats that would take us to the statue of Gautama Buddha. The monolithic statue stands on a small lake called Hussain Sagar. As we saw the statue often passing by on the road to its eastern side, we were waiting to actually visit. From the Buddha statue, we could see India’s flag standing over in Sanjeevaiah Park opposite from Lumbini Park. It was a cloudy day, which was pretty nice for walking around.
We also stayed out for lunch that Saturday with our director. There were huge (feet-long) dosas, awesome breads, different kinds of chutneys. In short, it was a lot of yummy food for lunch. Our food class teacher shared food with us this week, too. She brought in pani puri for the class. Pani is “water” in Hindi, and puri refers to a variety of deep-fried breads. Pani puri is popular as a street food, where the small crispy round bread is hollow but then completed with filling (ours was made of potatoes) and flavored water.
There were no classes on Friday because it was Ganesh Chaturthi. The holiday marks the first day of festivities celebrating Ganesh, one of the most well-known Hindu gods. For the long weekend, a bunch of SIP students planned travels out of town. Only 8 out of 17 of us who stay in Tagore are here this weekend. We went on an afternoon walk to one of the student canteens; Fiona and I took a short detour on the way back, down a couple paths we often pass without second thoughts.
It rained this evening and is still raining tonight. We had been sitting in one of our rooms, tentatively planning trips we may want to take while in India. Discussing that reminds me how big of a country India is: lots we want to do in a limited time frame. As we went out to watch the rain, three of us decided to go for another little walk. We set out for the stores just outside of the campus’s South Gate for snacks, but most were closed. With the wind and lightning and thunder, I felt it was the epitome of “a dark and stormy night” in all of the best ways. We settled for tea at the closest campus canteen, where students were not deterred by the power being out. Light came from glowing lanterns and purple lightning (and occasionally cell phone screens). In the stormy and mellow atmosphere, I did not want to be anywhere else.