We arrived at the airport in Chennai early in the morning, to be greeted with a heady heat, and set off in a taxi for Vellore as the sun was coming up. I’ve never been to a place with such a different culture, and I’ll admit I was a bit nervous.
Our first visit was to a private university called Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), and the ride took about three hours. In our bleary-eyed state all the new sights were almost kaleidoscopic. There were cows walking around, lots of dogs, and lots of people.
The approach to driving and traffic in India is well known, but it was overwhelming to experience it in person – at one point in the journey there was a truck travelling at speed in the opposite direction to us but on the same side of the road. It’s very loud as well, because everyone honks their horns at each other, but after a day or two you completely get used to all of it.
India is an exceptionally diverse country, more so than I was expecting. I was amazed by how vivid the colours were, the sounds and the smells. The food was amazing, and the warmth of the people was matched only by that of the weather. It was sunny and around 31 degrees in February – very welcome after shivering in the UK!