Thursday, August 17, 2006

A year in the Third World

As I sit in the mall tapping in to the free Wi-Fi enjoying my chocolate croissant and skim latte I can't help but wander how have I been able to survive in a developing country away from all the comforts I had grown accustomed too.

Damn I have been in India for a year! (just shy of two weeks but close enough).

The past 11 and a half months (minus 10 days in Hong Kong) have definitely had its share of trials and tribulations. There quite a few things I hate about this country (every country has something) and quite a few that I love, and countless others that I really miss from back home.

But to me the most important thing is that I have actually done it. I have been able to step out of my protective bubble and thrown myself into a new environment and survived. Kudos for Andy!

The French emigre, Claude Arpi, wrote an article titled, "10 things I hate about India" after living in the country for over 30 years. Like him, I feel there are way more good things than bad. Unlike him, most of my complaintsts are superficial.

My friend Lauren (who was part of the same fellowship that brought me here initially - and a NY Italian) had this to say on her last day in the country:

"Leaving India tomorrow and although I love India it is really time to just get the heck out of here. I am tired of the crowds and the traffic, tired
of hitting my head on everything b/c its all made for short people, tired of malnourished children or people with 2 or more serious deformities hovering all over the street asking for money, tired of being stared at by gross men, tired of yelling all day every day and just plain tired.

There are some things I really love about this country though. Here is my top 10 (well, 11) list:

11) You can bribe your way out of anything.

10) If you are here long enough you make sounds with you butt that you never thought possible.

9) Mob rule wins every time. There are so many freaking people that if you get even a small percentage of the population to agree with you that's a damn lot of people.

8) South Bombay socialites excluded, people are not afraid to eat.

7) In a city like Bangalore with 6 million people there are still cows meandering in the middle of the road.

6) Cleaning toilets, sweeping floors, ironing clothes and swabbing floors are seen as work- real work, like it should be. And you usually pay someone to do it.

5) Salman Khan, a famous Bollywood actor, ran over a few homeless people and walked away scot-free, but then shot an endangered animal and went straight to the slammer.

4) The world is your toilet and nature is your piss pot.

3) Someone who dances like a back-up dancer from a 1985 Michael Jackson video can be a top hip-hop dance teacher in Bombay with over 50 loyal students.

2) Although India men scope foreign women like recently released convicts from Rikers, you have to laugh at them because an overwhelming majority have uni brows, belts with 2 feet of leather hanging off, pants hiked up to their belly button, and shirts with color combinations that can't even be explained by color blindness. Trust me, I've met men in middle of nowhere in Nepal with more fashion

1) The leader of the largest political party in India, who runs and
controls a lot of the shit going on around here, Ms. Sonia Gandhi, is

In the end, there is not much one can do except "you take the good, you take the bad and there you have, the facts of life!"


Sony Pony said...

hmm..a comment on #4 from the article,

"10 things I hate about India": 4. Discrimination against the white tourist:"

*eye-rolling* might have something to do w/ the fact that white tourists are very very often found exclaiming, "Only Rs.250! That's so cheap! That's like 5$!"...

Ameet said...

When're you writing your own top 10 list?

I guess it's better to wait till you're out of there - so you can REALLY speak your mind ;)

Vi said...

I agree with the things on your list; 'tis very true.

And boy, do we love to eat. =P

Ameet said...

OMG - you've been DP'd!!!