“You win. F*cking Delhi, you win.”
I was standing somewhere in Chandni Chowk,
I stood in the middle of all of this Indian wonderfulness – and cried. In public. For no apparent reason.
I’m not usually the kind of person who’s easily overwhelmed. You see, I hitchhiked through Eastern Europe, trekked through the
Before leaving, I had a feeling that I wouldn’t like Delhi – I’m more of an
To avoid the monster that I thought India’s capital would be, I had carefully planned around it beforehand – I would only land there and then immediately head off to see other parts of India. A missed connection and an absolutely not helpful ground crew of the airline in question forced me to spend three days in
So I went out and explored.
Delhi, with its many smells, noises, colors, people, attractions, chaotic traffic, and the general sensory overload, was an adventure unlike any other for me. I loved and hated it at the same time, got lost a hundred times over, found my way again, felt I was buried in the sheer amount of people on the street, cried, dried my tears and walked on. Step by step, very slowly, I turned corner after corner, careful not to let the people whizzing past me, the many hands, shoulders, and bodies touching me, discourage me.
And yet, I couldn’t handle it. I broke down in the subway and had to take a little breather (and a chocolate bar, because chocolate never hurts) to calm down again; I had a near-meltdown in the middle of the night in Central Park, trying to find my way after getting lost; I couldn’t handle, for the first time in my life, the tricksters outside the main train station, trying to get tourists to take a cab instead; and I stopped moving completely and just cried in the middle of Chandni Chowk.
“You win, Delhi,” was all I could think. It’s hard for me to admit it, to publicly write about it, but I just couldn’t handle Delhi. For the first time ever, I was entirely overwhelmed by my destination.
I hated it. I hated that I wasn’t strong enough for this city, that the amount of people, the lack of distance and personal space made me cry, I hated how I reacted, and I hated Delhi.
But ask me if I wanted to go back and try again?
I’d say yes, absolutely. Any time. Because as much as I hated Delhi – it forced me to learn more about myself and traveling, and grow stronger as a result, more so than any other city in the world.
Have you ever been to a place that you were just completely overwhelmed by? Would you go back? Share your stories and thoughts in the comment section below, we’d love to hear from you!