This blog is second in a five-part series on exploring India. Former National Geographic staffer and guest blogger Anna Switzer shares her adventures with us from the field. Follow along with her as she journeys around and acclimates to new people and customs through her five senses of hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling, and feeling.
Upon waking up in New Delhi, the sounds I hear are definitely different than those I hear in the U.S. The first sounds I hear are of horns honking. The cars are smaller and the horns are softer than those in the U.S., and there is almost a constant din of them at various distances away. Some are right below on the street, and some are far off in the distance. The second sound I hear is people calling out as they walk along selling things. The word or words they say are repeated as they walk, sounding to me like a song, to advertise what they have.
On my first morning, we went to a large park in the middle of the city. It was 6:30 a.m. on Sunday. Many people were quietly meditating or doing some yoga, stretches or other exercises. Compared to the loud noises that woke me up, the quiet was very nice. In a different part of the park, where we stopped to do our own exercises, some other sounds began to emerge along with the sun. There were spontaneous outbursts of laughter from two different sides of us.
Two groups near us were doing “laughter yoga.” This is a form of yoga whereby people gather together and simply laugh and laugh. We couldn’t help but laugh along once we heard it. First we just giggled quietly, but then we got more brazen and laughed out loud as well. And, because they heard us laughing, one of the groups motioned for us to join them. There were several invitations by the leader to have people introduce themselves, to tell a joke or to clap and dance to a certain beat. Each time the leader motioned for us all to respond by laughing. She kept saying that the benefit of this exercise was to “laugh for no reason at all.”
This was a fabulous way to begin the day and become more acquainted to this amazing city through the sense of sound. I felt alert, more oriented and ready to explore India in other ways!
Written by Anna Switzer