Saturday was intended for a noon reception for admitted students from Mumbai. However, end-of-year exams for graduating seniors ended late Saturday morning, and our admitted students were not able to meet with us.
So we spent Saturday with the family of a recent OWU alumna from Mumbai, whose sister will enroll at OWU in the fall. The day of conversation in their home and a wonderful guided tour of the city left us immersed with more images of India – a visit to an ornate, ancient Hindu temple – holy ground; lunch of traditional Indian fare in a contemporary, neighborhood vegetarian restaurant; passing a funeral procession as the men bore the body of the deceased, adorned in flowers, to the crematorium; tens (perhaps hundreds) of thousands of people of every part of Indian society enjoying an early summer Saturday. We learned about the discipline of daily prayers at the temple at 5:30 a.m. We learned about the transition in cultural norms in a society where parents of our students from India entered marriages arranged by their parents, but where today’s students no longer are expected to have marriages arranged by their parents. We experienced the profound hospitality that characterizes the welcome extended to guests in an Indian home. We heard the horrific stories of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008, reminiscent of the experience of people in New York on 9/11. We were reminded of the richness of a culture that has persisted through the centuries despite threats from within and from abroad. We have so much to learn from one another on this planet that grows smaller and more interdependent every day.
We flew to Delhi Saturday evening, where we arrived about the same time as our seven students – Alecia, Anna, Brenda, Emily, Kelsey, Molly and Shannon. It was good to be united with them after our two days in Mumbai and their 14 hour flight. We were met by representatives from Lady Shri Ram College who transported us to the Legends Inn, our home for the next week, adjacent to LSR. Today’s schedule includes breakfast at Legends Inn, a visit to Lotus Temple, lunch at LSR, a visit to the National Crafts Museum, a visit to a memorial to Gandhi marking the spot where he was cremated following his assassination in 1948, and drives past India Gate and Parliament House. We’ll visit Dilli Haat, a local handicrafts bazaar, and the Navdanya Stall, an organic food center at Dilli Haat, before returning to the Legend Inn for dinner.