My first three weeks in india have been adventurous to put it diplomatically. Paris feels like a lifetime ago. India is a place that consumes you, its one of those countries that doesn’t give you time to adjust…you are forced to dive right it. I spent my first week in the north in villages in Punjab. I was able to also visit the glorious golden temple in Amritsar. Perhaps its my Punjabi roots and the stories I have been told about the Sikhs growing up, but I’ve always been in awe of the sikh warriors. The temple was immaculate and pristine. I had amazing pictures, but they were deleted when I unlocked my phone. Sigh..oh well. Not sweating the small stuff will be my mantra while I’m here.
When I arrived back to Mumbai exiting the airport my romantic bollywood inspired fantasy was quickly shattered…it took about 5 minutes. The thick humid, pollution layered air hits your face and your ears are bombarded with the insanely loud sound of car horns…non stop. After the most frightening cab ride from the airport and getting a glimpse of the chaotic rhythm of this glorious city, an alarming thought crosses my mind…Holy S*** Im in India and I have to live here for 10 months!!!
Finding an apartment here was extremely challenging. I realized how tradition and culture are so deeply embedded in all aspects of life here..it didn’t matter that I was in the most cosmopolitan city in the country. Its not unusual for landlords to place rules such as, no over night guests, no male guests, no overall nuisance (still trying to figure out how thats defined here) no alcohol, no carnivores, no unmarried guests…etc. I found it very difficult to let go of my western standards and expectations and justify spending almost half of my stipend on an apartment that made the Motel 6 in L.A. look good. After 8 grueling days I finally settled on a decent place. Louise Andre and I are roommates….we spent our first night having dinner and drinking champagne..gotto love the French.
My team at Aangan seems great. Everyone is very sweet and welcoming. After being in France and struggling with the local language there, its such a privilege to be able to communicate in Hindi and to have a insider perspective on the culture. I hope that will make the transition easier for me.
One thing is guaranteed, there will never be a dull moment in India. Looking forward to sharing stories in the months to come!