We started off our day in the serene Qutub Minar complex with the soft sunlight on our backs. We stood in awe of the colossal towers and structures that once were filled with people worshiping at the first mosque in India. The grounds of the complex were lively and green with flowers, trees, schoolchildren, birds and chipmunks. Despite the beauty, the complex has a painful history of conflict, stolen materials, and defacement of Hindu idols. While reflecting on my amazement and then learning the difficult history, I couldn’t help but think how we lack ancient native monuments in the USA. I was curious to know how different groups of people in India thought about the historical struggle as I just looked at it for it’s beauty and marvel. Is it a source of pain for both Hindu and Muslim Indian’s or is one religious group more effected? I also wondered if it is now just looked to as something historical to be preserved. Much of the US’s native cultural history has been entirely destroyed or stolen due to its difference. Here despite being a source of difference it was still maintained and respected for its historical significance.
We continued on to the Anita Dongre flagship store which oozed luxury in every aspect. The store experience is incredible and pulled inspiration in decoration from Jaipur. The clothing was intricate and couture with unique qualities to each piece. The focus was on the customer experience and our group was no exception. We were treated to water and soda as we looked at the clothes and they were friendly and professional. They shared their love of Anita Dongre and the brand knowledge they had from working for the company. The employees explained the different meanings of the garments and what types of occasion they would be worn for.
Our final destination of the day was the Select City Walk mall. There my small group found a Johnny Rocket’s as we rapidly searched for American foods. It was so interesting to see how an American menu was catered to Indian tastebuds, there were way more options. I was in love with my milkshake and french fries. Shopping in the mall was also an interesting experience. I looked for differences in merchandising and some techniques appeared to be very similar to what we see in the US other than the bright colors that are popular here. Lower end stores seemed to be more disorganized which reminded me of fast fashion. I was surprised to see so many American brands it made the mall feel very American nearly identical to the many malls in the US. I almost forgot that I was in India!