Being in India after a few days made me come up with different new survival routines. I’m staying in a residential area in Bangalore to get a glimpse into the locals’ everydays. One thing is sure. Life is not at all easy out here. What we take for granted in our western comfort society is not always unequivocal this part of the world, to say the least. Being a temporary visitor I’m facing issues from a different angle, which might be pity problems in the eyes of the locals but coming from the ‘everything is a click away’ side of the world some things for me are quite challenging to cope with.
Power shortage is an everyday issue, be it daylight or pitch dark. Indians learned how to live with it but it brings great difficulties to fellows like me. You never know which part of the day and what duration you can expect the electricity to completely shut off so it’s impossible to plan around it. What I learned from it? Jump in for your hot shower feast when the power is on if you don’t want to start your day under freezing water.
Once you are done and dusted and ready to hit the road there comes the next challenge. Traffic is just exxtreemely insane. There are no lanes, seemingly no rules (even if there are, they are just ignored), people are pushing and overtaking from all possible directions, endlessly honking and just try everything to get ahead of you. The constant noise mixed with a high-level of air pollution and the amount of vehicles competing for tiny parts of the road are mind numbing.
Being a pedestrian is not a life insurance either. Crossing the road can easily take 5-10 minutes since cars are just flowing from everywhere. Be there a crosswalk or not it doesn’t really matter especially as sometimes crosswalks lead to a dead end… so if there is a four ‘theoretic’ lane road, the zebra will be covering 2 lanes ending in a road partition fenced off so you have to go around it and navigate the rest of your way through mass of mad racers. Being a pedestrian sucks in many more ways as well, considering the level of literally visible pollution, the dark and deep rat-filled holes decorating the walkways and the shocking amount of mess mixed with cow crap and all. If you are fearless to drive please go ahead just make sure you leave well in advance as traffic jams are there to stay whichever part of the day we are talking about.
Once you are out and about conservative dressing is something you ladies might want to consider. Leave your shorts and mini skirts, the tight and low-cut tops at home and better invest in some local kind of garments, traditional kurta and churidars if you want to avoid constant attention.
Foodwise if you think you love Indian food, since you are a regular at your favorite Indian back home it’s time to explore what South Asian food really is about. Spicy. Spicier. The spiciest. Personally I love hot food but fellows with a sensitive stomach will get challenged for sure. Not only the chili that they use makes the dish hot but the spice itself is spicy. Screw it, you are going to be loyal to McDonald’s? Well, well. I want to see your face when you first bite into the American-Indian concept meal. Hot? Of course it is! Tremendously!
All in all, India is an experience, you just have to know how to live with it in harmony.