I planned on writing this post yesterday but with everything that was happening in Sri Lanka and us leaving for our trip there in a few days, I was glued to the news channels and just didn’t have it in me to be productive.
But I did make a promise, so here it is. Just get ready…it’s a long one.
In January last year we decided to move here for my husband’s career and we have been living in India now for almost four months. So it hasn’t been that long but we’ve managed to get some experience.
Living here has had its challenges. For me, one of them is definitely food. I am allergic to wheat and so the first few weeks were difficult because I had to look for wheat- or gluten-free options. Going to the store was a trip. Whatever is imported is expensive and whatever is Indian has their own name. For instance, chana is chickpea, makkai is corn, kuttu ka atta is buckwheat, paneer is fresh cheese and kulfi is their ice cream my husband is in love with. But the food is delicious, there is no denying it. The vegetables are fresh, the fruit is delicious, and they can make one hell of a tasty dish. And one hell of a spicy one. I love spicy food and can handle it, but whenever I am asked by an Indian if I like spicy, I deny, deny, deny. The spice here is next level.
The one thing I thought there will be no problems with was English. Boy, was I wrong. As soon as we stepped off the plane in January and the customs officer asked me something, I felt like a complete idiot, because I had no idea what he was saying. It’s the combination of the melody of an Asian language and the Germanic harshness of English that makes it sound strange. It took me three tries to figure out he was asking me if this is my first time in India. I’ve gotten a little better at deciphering it but honestly, it’s not always easy.
We live in Bangalore, which is a city that has seen huge development in the last few years and therefore you can see an opposition between the new and the old buildings, the vendors next to the roads and the shopping malls. We live in a gorgeous gated community so to be fair I don’t experience the Indian lifestyle daily, but we do like to step outside and take short trip or run errands. And that is another challenge: going anywhere you need to accept that there will be looks in your direction.
We went to Goa, a state with beautiful beaches, and we were sightseeing, just relaxing and taking walks. Spending time together. At least six groups of people asked to take photos with us and each of them wanted to take a picture and be in one. And I was…I still am wrapping my head around it. I didn’t want to be rude but it just felt strange. There was a group that didn’t even say thank you, they just stepped up to me, took a photo and giggled their asses away. I was uncomfortable. It’s so weird to me. I would never even think about asking someone for a photo just because of the color of their skin. Would you find it weird too?
We’ve been trying to see and learn as much about India as possible. It’s a wonderful culture and I want to get to know it. I think it’s so interesting to find similarities between the Indian and my own culture and the traditions I know. I have found quite a few instances where the idea is the same but the celebration or the ritual is different. For example, in March they celebrate the beginning of spring with a festival called Holi. And in Slovenia we celebrate spring with Shrovetide (we call it Pust). Same idea, different execution.
I’ve also learned it’s a country of contradictions. Supposedly, there are 200,000 wealthy people; 3,400 ultra rich people (meaning they are worth more than 50 million people); and it’s the third nation when it comes to the number of billionaires. Yet there are 22% of people living under the poverty limit. And the gap is increasing. My heart broke when we visited an orphanage and were told that the country doesn’t fund them, doesn’t help them take care of the children.
Another thing is the trash. Indians are spiritual and religious people who respect nature and animals and yet simply throw garbage onto the floor and let dogs be abandoned. I would love to see the country that is so beautiful also be tidy. It doesn’t take much time nor effort.
The power just went out. Again. For the gazillionth time. It’s one of the quirks you just have to accept. Like the fact that everything takes time and no one is rushing anywhere. It’s not something I was used to in Europe.
My husband is away on business a lot but I am not a person that would feel lonely when alone. So I’ve been focusing on making the most of my days and focusing on me when he’s not around. I’ve had a job even before I finished my studies and so not having one now is weird and if you connect your sense of independence to it, it gets weirder. But this is the first time where my writing is my priority. And I love it. I do need to be careful to give myself breaks and not stress myself out. Because when you’re the one setting the schedule and you’re a workaholic and someone eager to have success…let’s just say I’ve had a few sleepless night.
I’ve never felt so good to be honest. Moving to India has let me morph my daily life into what I want it to be. I get up, work out, have breakfast and don’t have to look at the time, I cook and experiment, I read and go swimming to the community club here… And when my husband is home, I love our time together. We make each other a priority, we spend time together and nourish our common interests and hobbies…we have a bubble. We’ve gone out to dinners and for drinks but to be honest, there is nothing like watching a show, eating some snacks and having a glass of wine.
We’ve also met great and welcoming people. There is a wonderful family living next door that we’ve spent some time with. And we want to make even more connections and life-long friends.
It’s been an adventure, like we expected it would be, and we are excited of what’s to come. I am sure it will better and enrich us.
I am certain I didn’t write everything I wanted to say. I kept postponing it because there are so many thoughts and impressions in my mind about living here. I made a mistake not noting them down as they emerged. But I will start doing that now and maybe do another post like this.
If you have any questions, let me know.