So it’s time I gave you all a very honest update on my life in India.
It’s not all travel and excitement, food and fun. This is a complicated series of events, so… bear with me. I can’t break it down any other way, and it’s complex. Brace yourselves, ladies and gentlemen…
Chapter One: Disaster. And Triumph!
Last year, mid December, I lost my job. It was due to a combination of factors, but ultimately I was left unemployed and that’s a scary prospect in a foreign country! I don’t have many networks here, I don’t know how the job-hunting works, my CV was different to their style of CV, and it was a stressful time. Luckily, my employer let me stay on in the work apartment for as long as I wanted, so I had somewhere to live while I found a new job.
The Thursday I found out I had lost my job, I caught up with a new friend, X, and he introduced me to one of his best mates, Reza. X was a nice guy we got along and had a few laughs, but the connection with Reza was instantaneous. We talked until late, shared an Uber home, and exchanged phone numbers.
That Sunday, X, Reza, I, and a few other friends went out for brunch. Brunch turned into an afternoon of pleasant wandering, and shopping, and chatting. Reza and I shared an Uber home but stopped en route and had dinner together. The conversation was easy, except for one phone call, when X rung Reza, and asked Reza to ask me if I was interested in him. I was almost the most embarrassed I’ve ever been, super awkward when the guy you like asks you out for his friend (and said guy is completely oblivious that you like him). I said I wasn’t interested and Reza softened the message somewhat and relayed it back to X. The night ended, as nights do, and I went to bed with a smile on my face- the first in what felt like a very long time.
That week, Reza was in Dubai and we Whatsapped each other, chatted all week, and decided to go on a date to an Italian place that we’d talked about. We made the decision we weren’t going to tell anyone we were going out, because of X, and also because we didn’t know how it was going to go and we didn’t want to make a big deal out of something in case it was nothing. If we went out, and it was good, then we would tell X, but there was no reason to make a big deal of it now, when it might amount to nothing.
Also that week I had a couple of friends, including X, help me re-write my CV to suit Indian requirements. I sent out alerts through all my networks, and applied for a lot of jobs. Some of you may have noticed my sudden love of LinkedIn. On the Saturday, X and I went to a networking/ party event and X, once again, indicated an interest in me, which I assured him I liked him as a brother (sharp collective intake of breath from all the men reading… ha ha sorry).
Saturday night rolled around and Reza and I met at the restaurant. I was greeted with a bunch of flowers, it was delightful, he was delightful, dinner was delightful, we talked all through dinner and then decided on our first crucial mistake- we went to go get ice-cream for dessert. We wandered up the road, and reached the car. And then, in a city of 13-ish million people, who do you think walked past at that exact moment? X. Ok, THIS was officially the most awkward moment of my life. I slunk into the car and tried to disappear. I couldn’t. It’s impossible to make a 6 foot tall, 70kg woman, shrink.
Chapter Two: Disaster. And Triumph!
That week X unfriended, blocked, argued, and ‘punished’ both Reza and I. Reza was told ‘it’s either her or me’! and there were many late night guilt trips. He left all groups on Whatsapp and Facebook Chat that we were involved in (6 years of friendship with Reza) and decided he ‘hated me to the core’. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Things calmed down, he unblocked us, refriended Reza, then unfriended, re-blocked, rinse and repeat. Painful. He accused Reza of betrayal (unsure how that works when I never liked X romantically) and told all their friends that Reza had cheated him. It was exhausting.
Reza and I then went on holiday together… see the last few blogs. It was a lovely week together and we did our best to ignore the drama in Bangalore. Reza is an amazing man, and his patience, kindness, gentle nature, intelligence, and passion for life make him a fairly exceptional person.
We returned from holiday and I started doing some freelance content writing work in the interim, and via that (and a friend who connected us) I got a job as content manager for a place called Text Mercato. Love the team, the bosses are excellent, and I like their business ethics. I got the job the week after the holiday, and started the following week.
So far, I’ve loved it. I’m writing, which for some reason has never occurred to me that this could be a career… but I’ve always written, and I love it. The other part of my job is correcting peoples’ grammar and spelling, which is something I do for free on Facebook every day anyway! Ha ha.
Anyway, happy days, relief.
Chapter Three: Disaster. And Disaster.
But, all was not wonderful. ‘Someone’ had set up a fake Tinder profile for me using photos obtained from Facebook. When men right swiped, they had a short conversation with ‘me’ and were given my personal cell phone number. This is less than ideal as I’ve found Indian men can be very, very, very persistent. I was lucky however that the first man to contact me was an absolute gentleman, and we ended up meeting to discuss, and had a nice chat. I felt really bad that this innocent guy had been dragged into my drama. So I made a new friend in Bangalore (one who owns a pizza restaurant, excellent!).
You may remember George, from my past adventures. He was cruising through Blore and crashed with Tim and I for a night, but he ended up quite sick (ah, India) and so ended up staying for a week, mostly confined to bed. My landlord, who also lives next door, has some very traditional values and things that are completely acceptable in NZ, such as letting a friend stay in your apartment, are not OK here, but I told her what was going on and thought it would be OK- after all, Tim was here too.
It was then that I decided that I needed to have a very serious talk with myself. I was exhausted- the situation with X was horrifically stressful, and I was Over It. The other thing was that I still wasn’t over Enrique and I wasn’t being fair to Reza. It was a difficult decision, ending a relationship where nothing was wrong, and where I respected and loved the guy, but I had to be fair. It wasn’t fun. I cried. A lot. Luckily I still had George there to tell me I was an arse and to buy me wine (the age old Kiwi/ Aussie solution to everything).
The following week, George was heading off up North and needed to drop off a bag to my house. I left out a key. He let himself into my apartment… and my landlord called the police. To make a very long convoluted story short, my landlord demanded I move out that night. Which is illegal, for the record. She threatened to get my Visa revoked, and threatened to get the business I used to work for shut down, basically she just completely lost all sense of reason, moral or otherwise. At the very least, changing the lock on the apartment and not letting Tim back in is illegal, and throwing a woman out on the streets with no notice is immoral. This drama has continued, with more nonsensical yelling phone calls to the company I used to work for (sorry, sorry, sorry), and she’s told the guards to not let me back into the complex, which is frustrating when you work with one of the other occupants!
I admit that some things happened that were less than ideal (i.e. I knew having men over to stay was not good among the more traditional Indians) but the outcome was way out of proportion to the issue. I had an hour to get my belongings together that night after I got home from work, and then I was out on the streets, trespassed from my own apartment.
It’s at moments like these where the smallest kindnesses are the most beautiful. I was in my Uber, driving to my home for the night, and I had a call from Reza. I burst into heaving sobs, tears flooding down my face. I get off the phone.
Uber Man: ‘Ma’am, please stop crying’
Me (sobbing): ‘I’m trying, sorry, I’m a bit stressed’
UM: ‘Ma’am, please, stop crying’
Me: ‘I’m sorry, I’m trying, sorry, I’ll try *sob*’
UM: ‘Ma’am, hold my hand’
Me (at this point I have no idea what’s going on but hey lets trust this total stranger): ‘OK’
I put my hand in his outstretched hand. He grasps my hand, turns around (we were at the lights) and says: ‘Ma’am, please stop crying. It’s going to be OK. I promise.’
My wee heart just melted. We spent the remainder of the trip talking about cricket (good), Bangalore traffic, (bad), and life (varies). Anyway, he made a very bad day so much better. Always be kind, people.
It was right before a long weekend and a lot of my friends were heading away, or had already left. My friend Kartik took me in and I kicked him out of his bed, and made him sleep on the floor of his spare room (true story). Then I had some decisions to make.
Then Reza called. Long story short, I moved in to the spare room at my ex boyfriend’s house.
And this is where the story ends, for the time being. I’m waiting on some intel from New Zealand and Tim, before I make a decision regarding my permanent new house. In the interim, Reza and his lovely sister are happy to have me stay/ tolerate my cleaning and cooking.
At this point I feel like my life is one of those stories where a good thing happens! Then a bad thing. Then a good thing! Then a bad thing. Or maybe it’s all a bad cosmic joke. I don’t know what it is but I could not have gotten through ANY of this without my friends. In particular, KLG’s continued enjoyment of my discomfort and gentle light-hearted support (thanks guys), Kartik letting me stay at his, my new workmates who were lovely to me, and of course, Reza, letting his crazy ex-girlfriend move in with him.
So. Let’s all hope that Chapter Four is triumph and triumph. I’ll be honest and admit that throughout the drama, I had thought about going back to NZ… but I had a fairly uncompromising message from someone in NZ who knows me very well, telling me to toughen up. I’m not done here yet. India Wins Again but it still hasn’t beaten me.
I hope you read this with ‘Always look on the bright side of life’ as the soundtrack. Because no matter how bad it gets, I always have beautiful people around me who look after me (if I let them).