Unity through Diversity

As I step out of the subway I am hit by the cacophony of noises. From the tuk-tuk of the auto-rickshaws to the endless honking of horns to the hawking of a street vendor selling masala spices to the chanting of the worshippers at the temple the entire street was alive. Even though the sounds are by themselves are harsh, they harmonized together to a form the breath of a city that was full of spirit and new experiences. We have just spent our first week in Delhi and every minute of it was full of excitement.

 

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Old Delhi

I am often at a lost for words when I am asked by friends about my experience in India. This is not from a lack of stories but trouble deciding which story to share. With nearly 22.2 million residents and featuring the world’s largest Hindu complex and India’s largest mosque, it is impossible to define Delhi. Delhi is the Lotus temple where the pin-drop silence allows for silent meditation. Delhi is the Indian gate where the name of every Indian solider who died in WWI is remembered. Delhi is the markets where one can find the latest Zara jackets or brightly coloured block print Kurtas. Delhi has a place for each and every one of us.

 

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Nice place for a picnic

There is so much diversity and contrast in the city that one can’t help but find something to love about it. It continues to surprise me that amidst the bustling streets (where traffic laws are voluntary and crossings are at you own risk) of a city rushing to work at large multi-national firms we can find still find century old temples and monuments. However, these monuments are not carefully partitioned off and enclosed in glass but rather are still very much a part of life. There we can find families going for picnics or couples taking an evening stroll. I am sure the crevices and enclaves make good hiding spots for hide-and-seek. The old and the new coexist together.

Chaos and calmness are also close neighbours. If the constant traffic and shouting of people on the streets ever gets too much, we can find escape in quiet cafes dotted all over the city. Walking into one of these cafes I am continually surprised by the immaculate details to colour coordination and theme that gives us an opportunity to visit a whole new world each day. Perhaps it is because the AC creates are a cool respite from the heat of the hot sun but I feel like I can spend my entire day in one of these cafes meeting new people. I am sure that I will never be bored.

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Cafe Turtle

Delhi is a city that is truly alive. There is a spirit in the people that teaches me to live each day fully and always keep my mind open to take the most from my experiences. I have become much more aware of my surroundings and awake in my actions. I realize that there is so much I can do and there is no excuse to let time take the lead. I am in a city that will not sit by and let monotony win. In all of its diversity there is a common energy that unites all of the people together in their own unique way.

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About Bill Cao

I am a rising sophomore pursuing a dual degree in Management and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. I am interested in social entrepreneurship and love reading, traveling, exploring.