I see very few similarities between people in Delhi and people in New York City with the main exception being their respective response to weather. When it’s cold in both places people can’t stop talking about how cold it is and then a few months later people can’t stop talking about how hot it is. It’s more funny in Delhi because it’s cold until about February but then gets ridiculously hot in March so the 180 degree turnaround in complaining can happen within just a few days. The other similarity between the two groups is that they both like to brag about where they went for the weekend to beat the summer heat: for New Yorkers it’s “the Hamptons” and for Delhites “the hills.”
Now I’ve been living in Delhi for the past 3.5 years and never once really understood the concept of “the hills.” The “hills” just seemed like a magical place where Delhi people go on the weekends so they can tell everyone else that they just came from there. Plus, I never knew where these “hills” were located and what people did at these “hills.” Sometimes, I would even ask my friends, “which hill did you go to?” And they would always respond, “you know, the hills” like they were keeping me from some Delhi socialite secret. At least in New York City when people used to say “the Hamptons” I could understand that there were drinking on a beach in Long Island with other rich people or friends of rich people, but “the hills” were a completely foreign concept to me…until last week.
About a month ago my colleagues and I were discussing options for our annual company retreat. Me being a true beach bum disguised in urban clothing wanted to go to Kerala, Thailand or the Andaman Islands. These ideas were quickly shot down and I was unhappy up until the time one of my colleagues suggested that we go to “the hills.” All of a sudden the thought of drinking in beach shacks disappeared and my heart started racing as I felt as I was getting closer to opening a safe which a foreigner living in India is never supposed to open. I nonchalantly said, “yeah the hills could be nice” masking the glee flowing through my body.
Fast forward a few weeks, its 6am and I’m sitting with my colleagues in a 12 seat traveler heading to “the hills” feeling like a child going to Disneyland. I’m not sure what to expect but it doesn’t matter because I finally get to be like the other Delhi locals for once vs. the random Indian looking American who invariably confuses everyone he speaks to with his American accent and 2 year old grasp of Hindi.
So now I’m back home after 3 days and 2 nights in “the hills” with my colleagues, the WAGS and our housekeeper. I can’t share all of the details including which “hills” we went to as I don’t want to ruin the secret for others who are in the same position I was just 2 weeks ago as “the hills” must be experienced and not read about. However, I will list out a few important observations about “the hills”:
- On the drive to “the hills” you see more people vomit than a college fraternity party
- The drivers who take you to “the hills” must come from some other planet where only incredibly controlled insane people are bred
- There is nothing to do in “the hills” except talk about how nice it is to be in “the hills”
- Only Indians go to “the hills” because foreigners know what it’s like to be cold and don’t need to drive for 5 hours on a one lane cliff road to experience being cold again
- Telling people in Delhi that you went to “the hills” when you return is almost as fun as actually being there
In spite of the above, team Libero Sports and family ended up thoroughly enjoying our weekend retreat in “the hills” and we all got some needed rest after many months of travels and meetings. I’m already looking forward to our next corporate retreat, just hoping that next year we can fly to our destination though because my heart is still skipping beats from our terrifying drive down “the hill.”