I came across this article today and thought I’d share it. It’s written by a couple who lived in India for between 6 months and a year. They lived in a very affluent, rich, Western part of Bombay – itself an affluent, rich and Western Indian city.
I found it especially pertinent because I’ve just come back from a 10-day trip to southern India. Substitute the word ‘American’ for ‘Westerner’ and I think it’s generally a good guide for expats to have!
Entertaining and funny but as an Indian-by-birth, I also like that they’ve captured some of the fantastic bits of the country – the monsoon, the vegetarian food and the hospitality, for example.
There’s also a great deal they wouldn’t have been able to experience because of their limited time, the fact that they’re American and the city they live in, and I’m glad they’ve acknowledged this!
It made me laugh but it also made me see India in a slightly different way. I’m used to criticising a lot of things that happen there, either on behalf of the government or simple acts from ordinary citizens. This has made me look at the things which normally annoy me about India – the incessant attention you get when you go shopping for example (what’s wrong with just leaving me alone to browse, for God’s sake?!) – from a different perspective.
It probably is quite nice and refreshing to have someone get you things from the shelf and to fetch you different sizes or colours of clothes. I still doubt it’ll change my perspective on that however! I went into a shop in Madras with my family recently and every single member of staff greeted us at the door. We had three women following my two cousins and I around the shop, taking the jewellery we liked and putting it into the baskets that we insisted we carry! Imagine all that attention – it is probably really good fun when you need it, for example when you’re shopping for something important and need a sense of occasion. But for everything, including groceries? You have to be kidding me!
Anyway, enjoy this, and do bear it in mind if any of you are considering moving to India!