Almost a week completed here, and to be honest, it’s all been a lot easier than I thought it would be. It’s been easy I suspect due to having the apartment all set up and someone here that’s done all the hard work of finding a supermarket, and learning the unique quirks that make this India.
For instance, my local supermarket, what I call the Kwik-E-Mart (it’s actually called the Star Bazaar), has a security guard as you go in, and he cable-ties my bag shut. He ties it to another zip so I actually can still easily open in… but, he’s done his job. Then, at the exit of the store, there’s another security guard who looks at my receipt and checks through my groceries and makes sure they match.
We have regular power cuts. The UPS stops our computer system going down, but the AC and lights just abruptly turn off. There’s a generator that kicks in and the power comes back on quickly, and I’ve been told if you’re in the elevator that it takes you down to the bottom floor and opens but I’m not willing to test that theory!
In a way, it’s not as “India” as I was expecting. I get up in the morning, shower, breakfast, walk to work. Work. Walk home, might do grocery shop on the way home, then I do my assignment for my post-grad stuff in the evening. Not very exciting.
I go out for lunch every day, it costs less than $5 and I haven’t finished a meal yet. I generally buy vegetables at the supermarket and then cook them at home for dinner.
I think the biggest challenges so far is trying to get stuff done at work. I’ve been tasked with setting up various things at the office and it’s very challenging when I don’t have ANY local knowledge around local shops, or how India works. For instance, sourcing embroidered polo shirts for staff. Sizing, fabric quality, how they do the embroidery. All things at home I’d have a rough idea of where to go and how much it should cost. here… nope.
I’m going shopping this weekend with two of the women I work with. I’ve got a couple of salwar kurta that I bought last week but I need enough to last a full week. Because I don’t know what’s popular over here, I could inadvertently buy something I like which proves to be very uncool, hence the shopping assistance required!
I wake to the call to prayer, an eerie discordant sound that seems so fitting in this beautiful, chaotic city. At night, I fall asleep in the heavy warmth, under the fan slowly drifting above me, listening to the distant tooting on Hosur Road, the barking of stray dogs and yewling of fighting cats. And life is beautiful.