Living abroad or spending longer time far away from the home-comfort-zone can do some good to your personality. After I had spent eight weeks in India I returned home as a different person and it really is a challenge now to be normal part of the Western society again. Probably I don’t even want to be part of the classic Western consumer society anymore. I might risk to be excluded, how knows. For now let me share the most important things I learned in the ‘School of India’:
1. Patience is the key to secret
This comes in handy in all possible life situations be it an unexpected full-day electricity cut, water shortage or a delayed appointment (which might never happen on the exact date). Impatient folks out there no need to tear your hair out, all will be working out just fine. Well, sooner or later.
2. Be humble with everyone and everything
Respect elder generation and listen to them with curiosity. They lived their life through the country of diversity thus have lots of stories to share. Don’t put faces on marveling crowd gathered around you, in certain parts of the country for them you are a pure rarity.
3. Tolerate even if you think it’s intolerable
Talking about the holy cows, the monkeys, the creepers and unidentifiable bugs on the roads (and shops and just everywhere) or the annoying street vendors coming all over you, there are just an abundant things to tolerate that you might never face in your own country.
4. Optimism brings you forward in life
Unlike western folks the majority of Indians are looking at their life with much optimism, rich or poor, educated or illiterate, healthy or ill, young or old, no matter the circumstances. While they are taking their survival always into consideration, they live for now and embrace every little moment of their life.
5. Waste nothing
Since water resources, electricity, food supply and even space are limited Indians mastered the art of saving which is exercised in quick shower sessions (yep dudes, no more concerts under the shower), the unimaginable space-saving when it comes to storing things using the tiniest boxes man ever created, the redesigned lifecycle of a broken garment and the list goes on…
6. Cleanliness reflects your personality
Even though the country looks like a gargantuan mess, in terms of personal hygiene and spotless houses Indians are way ahead of western civilization. Skipped shower and missed morning brush are unknown concepts. Walking around the same clothes day after day, and unironed garments are the privilege of the drunk.
7. Observe all from big picture to tiny puzzle pieces
Have you realized that you can always discover curiosity in an Indian fellow’s eyes? They don’t hide their interest even if it’s seemingly the most unimportant thing in the world. The people observe everything, the sun, the moon, the stars, the soil, the plants, the taste, the smells, the noises and the effect of all on human body. Thus they are in possession of a great knowledge of why is what and when and where.
8. Noting things without overreacting is understanding without words
Upon sharing a super intense/emotional/shocking story of your life with your Indian fellow don’t even expect a ‘wow’, a ‘really??’, an ‘are you kidding me?’, or a ‘no way’ out of him. First you would think they didn’t get the essence of what you had just said but they really did. It got noted with a feel and respect and they will surely remember your story another time in a similar situation.