Delhi is for Lovers

India is an overwhelmingly populated country, which is immediately evident in the mass number of crowds that fill the streets and the traffic that flows in every direction. The country proves to be a contrast within itself; it displays life through the


Mughalesque by Zemar Ahadzada

stories of the poor and the rich, the traditional and the modern, and the frightening and the harmonious. It is at times these
opposites that blend together that makes India, a masala of spices, that warm the palate. For many it may be overbearing and for others a wonderful medley.

I believe one way to experience India is to go through Delhi. It is an exciting city that has many things, which India offers. There is a spirituality emanating from the people and their religions; this energy flows from the masjids, mandirs, temples, and gurdwaras in every corner. The aroma of the different Indian foods fill the alley ways and streets of Delhi.  Delhi is a heritage city, full of UNESCO World Heritage monuments, which displays India’s past grandeur and hints at its future. The people are warm, caring, and helpful although they may not seem that way in all the chaos that is Delhi. There is so much in Delhi and it is a mixture of bad and good.

Not all of Delhi is pleasant. Pollution is suffocating. Water is contaminated and care needs to be taken when eating or drinking, especially vegetables and water. Trash is everywhere. Beggars come from every corner and ask for money. There are women who harass (verbally) tourist for money and curse with ill-omens for those who don’t cough up. There was a little kid, with a big smile and laughter behind his throat, who innocently asked me for “ek rupee!” There are other kids who look dazed and point towards their mouth, asking for a meal. There is chaos about the streets and it feels like no one can be trusted.


A Delhi Sunset by Zemar Ahadzada

Nevertheless, it is from the dark and murky swamp where the lotus flower blossoms. It is the beauty, which arises from this chaos. As I mentioned before Delhi is for lovers and dreamers, it is full of the bad and the good. Within the parks and world heritage sites romantic lovers stroll about the gardens and fountains; their eyes fixed on one another. Right above them the Delhi sunset lowers its head covering the city in a haze of orange and red, a warmth that radiates in beauty, and is unique in nature. School children amuse themselves in the parks, which define history and future. The Rajpath Boulevard is filled with a peaceful energy, which emerges from the families,  lovers,  cricketers, and tourists. The flowers decorate Delhi and the birds sing their love songs for the city and it’s people. The cattle and dogs roam through the parks and streets. What can I say? It’s India.

Despite all the poverty, India is filled with hopes and dreams. This aspiration resonates through every street in Delhi where Billboards advertise projects to rebuild India and it’s infrastructure. There is a school for engineering or science next to every side-walk. The people work hard, through tough means and measures, to better their livelihood and country. They look towards the future and aspire to become a wealthy nation, restoring themselves back to their previous grandeur. It is a place for dreamers where great opportunities arise from each shop and dealer. They dance to the songs of the movies and they dream their Bollywood ending.

Delhi is for Lover

Delhi is For Lovers by Zemar Ahadzada

As I mentioned before, Delhi is for lovers….


Let the Heart Melt

I caught myself in a troubling situation. Following my normal routine, I was working on an assignment when my friend suddenly displayed her frustration. Naturally, I asked her what was wrong. She explained that she was afraid for her little sister, especially since her country was consumed by war. I could sense from her expression that she was irritated and depressed. Meanwhile, as she is going through her story I am typing on the computer, while occasionally looking up at her and show that I was still listening. However, I really didn’t know what I could do

LectureWhat I have learned over the years is that, most of the times, the best thing to do is listen. However, I felt helpless and foolish responding with, “oh…” or  “that’s terrible” after every sentence. I wanted to help, but as one can imagine, there wasn’t much I could do. It would be a lie to tell her that everything would be alright, especially since I don’t know. It would be false if I tried to sympathize with her because I have never walked in these shoes. Instead, all I could do was look like a dumb bobble-head.

She continued that many people are ignorant to the news, which prompted me to stop typing and pay full attention towards her. She explained how a genocide was taking place against her people and that nobody hears or reads about it. I asked where she was reading her news and she prompted me to a website, which illustrated her case. It was a non-local online news agency that was illustrating these event. Naturally, I am skeptical to most news reporting agencies because I feel like they try to spread their own ideas and beliefs, which I find one dimensional.

Normally, I would say that it was propaganda that was trying to find dirt on it’s opponent. However, I couldn’t bring myself to tell her that. It wasn’t because it would be rude, although it would have been, but who was I to tell her that what
she believed was wrong, especially since I have no understanding of the situation. I realized that this scenario didn’t require skepticism. In a second, I was rounded back to what I originally learned, which was to listen to the story. However, it requires listening with an active heart.

Active listening, requires the heart to be open to the story. All blocks, such as negativity and skepticism, should be removed in order for the heart to receive the story. That is to say, that the heart needs to be warm and receptive. In contrast, passive listening is listening without any genuine feeling towards the subject matter. I don’t believe this reaction is immoral or intentional, but a natural reflex that our body develops to avoid absorbing any negativity and/or difficult. The result is an empty and unfelt response.

It may be unpleasant, but active listening made me realize that, maybe, there was something that I could do, especially for our brothers and sisters suffering. It is by allowing the heart to soften that our heart rises into action. It is through this social connection that the heart looks for a solution. At the very least, it develops a genuine connection. It is only when we allow the heart to melt that we are able to truly sympathize with the suffering.