“Main Hindi bolti hoon.” The accent is up to the mark, the looks go with it. “That becomes the problem. People think that I am an NRI and start speaking in Hindi. And I fail to keep pace with my very limited vocabulary,” laughs Sara Sidner, CNN’s Delhi-based international correspondent. She is concerned about clean water and sanitation problems in India but when Sara goes out she doesn’t carry mineral water with her and doesn’t mind spicy food. “In fact when I visit rural areas I love having green chillies. They generally advise it is hot but I say I don’t mind.”

Sara is equally crazy about sweets, particularly jalebis. “It’s not good for the girth but is amazing for the taste buds. Whenever I go to Old Delhi, I make sure to indulge in jalebis.” Talking of Old Delhi, Sara calls the Metro a sign of shining India. “It takes just seven minutes from New Delhi. I know the difference, because when I came here a few years back as a tourist with my mother, it took 45 minutes.” Sara studied at University of Florida and was introduced to India by her mother. “She had a chest full of Indian artefacts. The moment it was opened I used to smell India.”

Dressed in a kurta, her favourite Indian outfit, Sara is in touch with the spiritual side of the country as well. She adores Hanuman. No, it has nothing to do with Obama’s fascination with the monkey God, as Sara says she always liked monkeys. “India is full of layers and contradictions, where you keep digging but you won’t reach one truth. Similarly the Indian pantheon is full of amazing tales. A lifetime is not enough to understand even one God fully. I keep trying to understand the festivals.”

Despite too many stories happening, Sara says the good thing is the country is keeping its identity intact. She agrees that the sameness of globalisation has not polluted the countryside and the ingenuity of its people. “You can still see the camels on the road, the efficient dibbawallahs?all this makes India unique and should not go.”

Managing crowds becomes a problem when one is reporting in the cow belt. “It does become a problem, particularly in Uttar Pradesh. “But then it is from these crowds that a helpful person emerges who helps in managing everything.”