One Month India-versary

15 Nov

A month ago today, I arrived in Mumbai.  And, what a difference a few weeks make.  At first, I felt like time was going by so slowly, and now, I couldn’t even tell you how we got to mid-November.  This past week, I even managed to complete my rite of passage as an outsider.  I survived some of the worst intestinal issues of my life.  That little incident in the restaurant was nothing. (And, if you don’t want to read about diarrhea, then skip the next three paragraphs).

This past week, since returning from Goa, I spent most of my time in my room curled up in a little ball.  Let me just say, I’ve had diarrhea before, but I have never experienced anything like this.  I don’t know what labor pains feel like (thankfully), but if they are anything close to what I felt this week–like all of my insides were squished together, knotted up, and set on fire–then I may just have my tubes tied and plan on adopting all of my future children.

For the first two days, I was completely stubborn and didn’t take medicine.  On day three, I began taking Lomotil, assuming a prescription-strength anti-diarrhea medicine should take care of things.  WRONG.   By day four, after a friend told me that she had the same problems for two weeks after arriving in India, I began taking Cipro, a super-strong antibiotic that kicked diarrhea’s ass.  Seriously, a word of advice to anyone traveling abroad: Make sure you get a supply of  antibiotics from your doctor back home to bring on your trip in case something like this happens.

By the weekend, I was ready to honor my social commitments, and I must say, I really enjoy that the expats here are not shy about swapping stories of diarrhea over glasses of wine.

On another note, I have a few things I’d like to share with all of you before I call it a night.  First of all, a list of things (in no particular order) I miss about living in the U.S. (aside from the most important– being close to my family and friends):

1) Body Pump/ teaching exercise classes
2) a clothes dryer
3) public restrooms equipped with toilet paper
3) Target
4) Jif peanut butter (extra crunchy, preferably)
5) hamburgers
6) the ability to wear a short skirt without enduring an unbearable amount of stares

Secondly, a few things I have yet to get used to:

1) The head bobble.  Hey, rickshaw driver, will you take me to the Jain Temple? (Head bobble).  Is it a yes? Is it a no?  I don’t know.  Tonight, I asked a rickshaw driver to take me home, got the head bobble, assumed it meant yes, and hopped in the backseat.  He proceeded to drive a few feet, asked me again where I wanted to go, then stopped the rickshaw.  “Deonar?” he yelled.  “Yes, yes,” I said,  “No, no Deonar.”

Watch this six-second video, and you’ll see what I mean about how confusing the head bobble can be (even Indians have admitted that can be hard to interpret, so I give up on trying to figure this one out).


2) Hand holding.  I rarely see men and women holding hands or having any physical contact in public.  But, it is extremely common to see men walking around with their arms on each others’ shoulders or holding hands.  It’s not a sexual thing; it’s a sign of friendship .  Women are also very affectionate with each other in public.  But, in the States, if I saw two men holding hands, I would assume they  were a homosexual couple.  So, I hope you can see why this is weird for me, even though I am trying to be culturally sensitive.  I understand the cultural difference, but I am still taken aback a bit every time I encounter it.

3) Traffic.  I am amazed that I have yet to witness or be involved in a traffic accident here. “The traffic just has a rhythm here,” one of my expat friends said to me once.  I guess I just haven’t gotten in tune with that rhythm yet.  Somehow, a road with three marked lanes becomes a six-lane highway.  Rickshaws squeeze between buses, motorcycles weave in and out the cars, ricks, and buses, and everyone cuts each other off, coming within just millimeters of hitting something but somehow avoiding it.  I probably do most of my praying in the back of a rickshaw.

For the most part, though, this city is growing on me.  It’s so high-energy and forces me to be alert, aware ,and in the moment all the time.  In D.C., I would listen to my ipod on the metro and as I walked down the street; I never bring my ipod on the trains or buses here or use it while walking around.  Believe me, even when I want to, there’s no drowning India out.  She won’t have any of it!



5 Responses to “One Month India-versary”

  1. Yankee Doodle dANNdy November 15, 2010 at 1:24 am #

    Lover! I’m very pleased to hear you’re keeping up with your diarrhea, however, I must say I find the subject of prayer at the end of your blog a touch alarming, as it is a bit too E.Gilbert-esq -let-me-get-the-book-deal-before-the-adventure-so-I-don’t-actually-have-to-take-any-risks- close-for-comfort. However, I will excuse the offense, if you find the following joke funny:

    A rabbi and an Israeli bus driver die at the same time and arrive before the judges of heaven together. The bus driver is sent immediately to heaven, and the rabbi is held in questioning for days. At some point the rabbi asks, “excuse me, but I happen to know that that bus driver was not a religious man. He ate pork on yom kippur, and I gave a lecture on the talmud every week! Why is he in heaven now?”
    “Ah, because every week when you gave your lectures it caused many people to sleep, but every day when he drove his bus it caused many people to pray.”

    I’ll admit…as much as it kills me to remotely sound like E.G.vomit-face in any way shape or form, that I also do much spiritual soul searching in the back of buses…and then I’m reminded of your grandmother’s sweet sweet advice, “O, yeah, watch out for them, um, um, um,….car bombers! Yeah, that’s it, car bombers.”I take great solace in her wisdom.

    • Mom November 15, 2010 at 8:27 am #

      Ann, love your joke- In my mind’s eye I can see you telling it and that makes me laugh twice as much!

  2. Jackie November 15, 2010 at 7:29 am #

    I love one of your last lines–that you can’t drown out India. Embrace us and tell us more adventures! Any updates with the research? So glad that you are feeling better… your last post reminded me of Nashville…. ughhhhhh

  3. Mom November 15, 2010 at 8:23 am #

    Baby, I think this is probably your most insightful blog entry on India to date! I can envision the crowds, the traffic, and congestion in your writings. And I love the line “I probably do most of my praying in the back of a rickshaw.” Definitely your best entry so far to help me visualize your experience!

    P.S.-The Jif should be there any day……

  4. Anita November 17, 2010 at 1:15 am #

    I listen to my ipod when I walk around, and then today I almost got hit with a motorcycle… I guess lady gaga just isn’t quite the right rhythm for these streets….

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