Sounds, smells and a general discomfort. That’s probably the best way to describe my first 48 hours in India. No part of me wanted to leave Greece. Not even the smallest particle of my body. Having arrived in India after about 30 hours of traveling, sleeping at airports and being stuck in the middle seat of tiny unstable airplanes I struggled with finding anything positive about India. But see, if you don’t welcome change, how can you expect change to welcome you? But no matter how smart you try to be about the overall situation, sometimes it still gets the better of you. My first two instincts within 12 hours of my arrival in India were: cry and leave. Instantly. I didn’t want to spend a second too long in India and was a millisecond away from booking the next plane out. But then I remembered one thing: it was my choice to come here in the first place. How silly would it be to leave, just because I don’t feel right at home after 12 hours?
I decided to give India a night. I figured that there would be a million and a half planes out of India in a day, so what difference does a day make? So I settled in, had some dinner and slept all night. And somehow on my first full day in India, I felt like I could do this. I felt like I could handle India, if I would just give it a fair chance. So that’s what I did, I gave India a chance.
By taking off my own blindfolds I realized that India could be described in two ways: Organized chaos or chaotic organization. Everything seems to have a purpose, everyone seems to be working towards something and the combination of chaos and organization makes India what it is.
Today is the third full day I spent in India and I am slowly falling in love with this country. Of course, nothing makes sense. For instance, traffic rules are just mere suggestions. You have four lanes? No worries, we make 9 out of them, easily. Cows, camels, cars, tuk-tuks, motorcycles, bikes it all fits. Somehow. Turn signals and traffic lights are just colorful decorations. There is a lot of honking with no rhyme or reason and more than once I have seen death before my eyes both while riding in a vehicle and while attempting to cross a street. But yet I still have all my body parts in place.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner there is curry and I haven’t gotten sick of it yet. I don’t know the names of any the dishes I inhale (it’s just too good to not wanting to inhale it), but I can tell you that every single one of them tastes marvelous. Thankfully, I have not (yet) had any severe stomach issues, fingers crossed it stays this way. But if not, there are some wonderful medicines that worked wonders on two people of our field course already. In no way am I worried about my personal health.
Oh and the colors. Foods, streets and clothing. It’s a wonderful rainbow of colors wherever you lay your eyes on. How could you not fall in love with all the colors of the rainbows? Of course I bought pants and skirts that do not fit the colors and patterns of western fashion but quite honestly, don’t we all need more color in our lives? I know I do!
Bazaars are plentiful and haggling is a skill mastered by many locals – not so much foreigners but I’m already happy if I get a 40% discount on a 200% overpriced item. At the end of the day, we both get a sense of accomplishment out of it, I guess. But it’s not just people at bazaars. There are cows roaming the small stalls and with big respect locals let them pass. I don’t think I have ever seen a funnier sight than a cow walking through the stalls and sneezing. This single moment already proved to me that staying in India was the best decision ever, but don’t be fooled, the organized chaos does need some time to get used to…