Today we met at the Fulbright House for a debriefing and our last interaction with Adam Grosky, Executive Director USIEF, and Sudha Rao, our program coordinator. We gave useful feedback to Adam and Sudha and then had a tour of the USIEF facilities including the library of resources for Indian students who are interested in attending US institutions of higher education. I found IWU on the map of Midwest four year colleges and universities (see photo)! Admissions may be interested in becoming a USIEF member to disseminate information about our institution to potential Indian students.
After our morning at the Fulbright House, most of us went to the Central Cottage Industries shop and bought some last minute gifts. We spent only one hour at this shop but could have spent much more time! We then went to the Imperial Hotel for tea. Jeanne and I decided to skip tea (after seeing the beautiful restaurant at the Imperial) and make our way to the State Emporium shops. We asked for directions and ended up diverted to another shop. Although we were disappointed that we didn’t get to the State Emporium shops, we did buy some gifts at the shop we were diverted to. We then headed to Mittal’s tea shop via auto rickshaw (see photo of me in the auto rickshaw). It was a great ride through New Delhi! The tea shop was fabulous! Too bad we don’t have anything like this tea shop in Bloomington.
We freshened up at the hotel, checked out, and met up with Jeanne’s colleague Mark who is spending part of this academic year in Delhi. Funke joined us and we went to Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi for a bicycle rickshaw ride. This is truly the real Delhi where Indians go shopping, etc. We went past the silk market and saw many colorful saris. We went past the silver market with lots of jewelry shops. We wanted to go past the spice market but the police had closed the road to traffic. We also went past the area that cooking vessels are made. The sights, sounds, and smells were incredible! It seemed like we were the only Westerners in Old Delhi. We went down many narrow lanes that our bicycle rickshaw could barely get through. It was interesting to see all the electrical wires in jumbles. Jeanne stopped at a sweet shop to buy some candy to bring back to her colleagues. One popular candy is made of cashews ground very finely and resembles something like half way between fudge and brittle. The top is often decorated with silver foil. It is quite yummy! Then we went back to the hotel for a quick bite to eat before going to the airport.
This was an incredible trip. I would recommend India to anyone who wants to experience a vibrant, colorful, historic, complex developing nation. The people are very friendly and very curious about Americans. India has a wide diversity of climate, language, customs, history, and food that makes it a fascinating place to visit. I felt that I just barely scratched the surface in understanding India, its people, and higher education. I want to visit India again and see some of the same places and many different places.