Over this past weekend, we had the opportunity to experience an entirely new side of both Delhi and Hindu life as we were welcomed into the home of a local family. Though the time we had with our host family was a short three days, we had the chance to enjoy plates of delicious, home-cooked Indian meals; learn about Hindu weddings, customs and social norms; and discover a bit about each member of their family.
Almost all of the time that we had with the parents and their two daughters was spent at the dinner table. In only a few hours, we were able to appreciate their loving family dynamic. Their youngest daughter, only a toddler, was full of energy and laughs. Naturally, she was a bit timid on the first night, but she warmed up to us. In our final night together, we joined in on a family effort to help her memorize a short story she had to recite in class the next day. With this, we each earned a good night hug. Their elder teen daughter, the creator of this short story, was so protective and doting over her younger sister. She was also eager to hear about our time in India so far and her maturity allowed for easy conversation. We left the weekend with a long list of her Bollywood movie and music favorites. Her drive and hardworking personality shined through in the long hours that she spent preparing for her exams scheduled for the upcoming week.
Though the time we had with our host family was a short three days, we had the chance to enjoy plates of delicious, home-cooked Indian meals; learn about Hindu weddings, customs and social norms; and discover a bit about each member of their family.
Our homestay parents were extremely loving towards both their daughters. It is clear how much weight is placed on the value of education. However, the parents were well aware of the pressures that children feel from a young age in the rigorous Indian school system and were very supportive of their kids.
The rest of our enriching dinner conversations were spent discussing our respective hometowns as well as their home-state of Punjab. We excitedly showed them what we had bought at the neighborhood markets, spoke of our latest service experiences in India, and took the brunt of the laughs regarding our bland food preference and pathetically low spice tolerance (not to say that we didn’t bite into a hot green chili pepper after our host dad told us it sped up metabolism).