The Taj and More!

The last couple of days were filled with bus rides and hours on the road. We took a bus from Mussoorie to Dehradun, where we then took the train to Delhi. After the train ride we took a bus again to the YWCA where we stayed the night. The next day we spent shopping in Delhi. It was a new experience having to walk through the outdoor markets on the street and bargain with the vendors if we wanted to make a purchase. After some time in Delhi we headed to a place for lunch. It was delicious. I got the best mango milkshake as well. We then hopped on the bus again to head to Agra. After about 4 hours of driving we reached our hotel. We were given a little time to drop our bags in our rooms and setting in a bit, then we went to get dinner. On the way one of our guides, Vinnie explained to us where we would be going. A place called “Sheroes” which stood for she heroes. Two journalists who were following the stories of the acid attacks that occur in India decided to take initiative about it. In India, unfortunately women are looked down upon within families and when a women bears only girls or just being a girl in general can be dangerous. In the past years acid attacks have declined because of stricter laws on selling this type of product on the open market but they still occur. These attacks happen to both women and young girls and can even be a family member who throws the acid or just a random person. So this restaurant/cafe called Sheroes is a chain where acid attack survivors can come to work after they have recovered from their attack. Often times after they are attacked, no place of work wants to hire them so this place gives them the opportunity to get out of the house and provides them with work. It was a really moving experience especially since the women who worked there were so positive and not to mention the food was amazing!

The next morning, we woke up super early around 5 am to head to the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort. The Taj Mahal was so beautiful, it was honestly breathtaking. It stood, perfectly symmetrical with nothing but blue sky behind it. We took lots of pictures and were able to walk inside as well. Later we had lunch and headed back to Delhi for our flight home. Being able to see one of the 7 wonders of the world and one of the most famous sites if not the most famous site in India was a truly enriching experience. The Agra Fort was also an amazing site. It was so large with many carvings that were amazing to see.

Over these couple of days, I was able to sort of look back on the Trek and everything we accomplished and reflect on what I really learned. I talked a little bit about it in the previous post but that was only the tip of the ice berg. It was a really moving experience and with the help of my peers and our two instructors, Vipul and G, I really improved upon my own self awareness. I learned a lot about my inherent strengths as well as weaknesses and what I am able to improve upon. I know I have always been a very outgoing person and I believe very strongly in whatever I do or say. I am very opinionated and have a strong voice (maybe I would make a good lawyer ! Just kidding) and sometimes, especially in the world today and in the workplace this may be needed, but sometimes it’s also good to take a backseat on things or just listen. I think that going on the trek and throughout the last couple days I have been able to improve my awareness of this and sort of navigate the situations in which I need to speak up, for myself and for others, while in other situations I may need to take more of a backseat and go with a differing opinion that may work out just as well as my own. I think having this strong voice and being able to speak up and get things done when needed is a huge strength of mine and having an awareness of when I need to use this strength eliminates the weakness of using it in situations where it may not be needed.

Learning about all the places like the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort as well as the culture in the area was really interesting and I am so glad that we were able to have these opportunities. My time in India flew by and it was jam packed with activities and stuff to do. At some points, I may have felt slightly overwhelmed by the intense schedule but in the end I am so happy that we were able to see and do everything that we did. I would not change what we did for anything.