The aroma of spices, bright colors, and welcoming faces was soon to become something that would last longer than my first impressions of India. After a 9 hour plane flight, I and nine other students finally reached Mumbai airport. Standing at the baggage claim, our diverse group of faces from around the globe attracted curious attention.
We were far too excited to even notice that we were foreigners to this new and vibrant land. Our excitement grew stronger as we took the first step out of the airport onto Indian soil. To our surprise we were greeted with a wave of high heat that stuck to our bodies, but the smiling faces that surrounded us seemed used to it. The high temperature pushed us to promptly enter the air-conditioned bus as we began our 3 hour journey to Pune.
The journey from Mumbai to Pune was breathtaking, nothing like I imagined. Each corner greeted us with different colors, smells and people. The sound of rickshaws, cars and motorbikes mixed with local voices developed into a new genre of music, as it formed a unique rhythm. The beauty of the country was rich and full of potential but the gap between the wealthy and poor was evident and present in every corner. I was amazed to see how similar India was to Africa.
A few hours from the extremely busy and congested city of Mumbai, lays acres of green land and breath taking mountains. As the bus climbed the mountains to get to the other side I got a better view of the India’s diverse land. Tall skyscrapers dominated the skylines from afar and slums occupied spaces spread out among the lands.
The phenomenal view made me realize that I had truly arrived in India!