After spending four days out of the heat, arriving in Delhi was a rough awakening. We were immediately greeted by the heat even though we arrived after 9 PM. Adding to the heat of the city, the air conditioner in our hotel room barely worked and we spent the two days in Delhi being very warm. We spent just two days in the capital, breaking up our journey between the northeast and northwest parts of the country. We will be back in Delhi for the last four or five days of the trip, so we spent the majority of this time on academic sessions.
The first day in Delhi was our first climate war game. The war games act as the capstone for each course on this program, so we do a total of two while we are here. The first war game is a mock negotiation session where teams represent different sectors of the Indian economy, including water, energy, healthcare, industry, and agriculture. The goal of the war game is to make a deal among the sectors for resources from the Indian central government for climate change mitigation and adaptation. The war game lasted all day and the teams did eventually come to an agreement. Since I am not a student on this year’s trip, I got to act as a “super-moderator” and really only had to listen and help keep time.
That night, Udit (our graduate TA) invited Tavish, Lindsey (another student who has been on the dialogue before), and me to his aunt’s home for dinner. We were all really excited to visit an Indian home for a home cooked meal for the first time. Udit’s parents had come into the city to see him and his mom and aunt had been cooking for two days for the dinner. On our way to their home, we saw five or six camels crossing the road (not an everyday sight, even in India!) and we were all so excited.
When we got to the aunt’s home, the whole family came out to welcome us and their hospitality was so incredible. We went inside and immediately were served some snacks, which included samosas, cookies, chips, and two delicious sweets (ladhu and gujia – one was a little sugar ball and the other was a cinnamon and sugar filled pastry that looked like an empanada). I was stuffed just from those snacks, and dinner hadn’t even arrived yet! Udit’s family were all so welcoming and shared with us about their lives and even taught us some Hindi (my vocabulary is growing slowly but surely)! Dinner arrived and we feasted on rice, beans, soya in curry sauce, pickled mango, spicy okra, and even more mango. They taught us how to eat mangos by just biting off the top and slurping the mango juice and pulp out – very fun!
On our way back to the hotel, we got another surprise in the road – an elephant walking alongside the cars!! I was too excited that I did not get my phone out in time to take a picture, but I will never forget that moment.
Our last day in Delhi consisted of the second day of the war game, where each team made presentations to a panel of Indian experts that included Dr. Ganguly’s aunt and uncle, Udit’s parents, Udit’s aunt and cousin (who is also named Tavish!), and a group of Udit’s friends who own a successful startup. After the presentations, the panel and a few of us went out to lunch/dinner for some delicious Indo-Chinese food. We ended the day with a trip to the airport to pick up Dr. Iacono, the director of the University Scholars Program at Northeastern, who is joining us for the last leg of our trip in Rajasthan.