My life in India: more intriguing and unknown facts sharing time. Our journey to India started in the last week post and now it is time to continue this virtual travel. This incredible country has much more to discover and share! Some of these unique facts can be learnt, experienced and lived only when you travel to a country for a bit longer, rather than just visiting holiday spots.
Last week I shared with you some initial observations, few aspects about houses and driving. This time we will look at the things you can’t live without in India, hospitals and workforce. Getting serious? Don’t worry, we will smile a lot too. Ready for this travel?
Normal life: Wears the same top every day for a week.
Packing for a 3 day vacation: I’ll probably change a few times a day so I’ll take 21 tops.
INDIA: more intriguing and unknown FACTS
YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT
APPS & APPS
Country of apps! Remember my previous post about India from A to Z? Yes, I mentioned there that living in India without hundreds of apps on your mobile is tough! And as much as I try to avoid repeating same content on the blog, this item is really needed. I have discovered it only during my visits in India: it is a real country of apps. If you are planning to travel on your own, make sure you have a bit of space left on your phone. You might end up downloading some additional apps! Even to fly back to India during pandemic, there is a new requirement: I will need to download 3 new apps to be able to return. Help!
I like to call it a mosquito racket (and then Our Bigger Angel smiles looking at me). I could never imagine:
- how popular mosquito bats can be
- how useful they can be
- and how much time one can spend in the evening ‘playing tennis’ with mosquitos
Yes, I am not joking. We have two bats at home. And if we notice any mosquito flying around or buzzing in our ear ‘mosquito chase’ starts, sometimes at 3 or 4 am, always with bat in the hand! Now it is easier, we have mosquitos door nets at home, My Better Half takes perfect care of us! Bats are so popular that they get even featured in movies as a typical thing in Indian house. And remember: not all mosquitos in India cause malaria.
How about standard doctor visits? That’s an interesting one. During one of my initial travels to India we traveled to Pondicherry. And by the seaside did a bit of crazy playing with the sand. Once we reached back Bangalore, I couldn’t hear well on one ear. Doctor visit was needed. That was my first – non food poisoning – doctor experience. And to my big surprise (and you know what ‘privacy’ means in Europe by now!) most of the doctor visits take place with opened door! So I was there getting sand from my ear washed off with a bit of audience sitting just in front of the room’s door. I couldn’t believe it.
Now I’ll surprise you! Yes, there are many amazing things about India: including emergency departments in the hospitals. In India there is emergency also in private hospitals. That was surprising for me: in Poland we have only public emergency healthcare. And if you reach there, sometimes you just need to wait and wait. In comparison, in India the service in emergency is super fast and great. Prices are also affordable. Best story: in Q3 2019 I got food poisoning. We know that getting quick treatment in the hospital works best for me. It was early morning, Our Little One and Our Bigger Angel stayed at home with grandparents. However, we were concern about feeding timing and school bus. So My Better Half told the doctor in the emergency that I need to be cured within 1 hour as we need to leave. They kindly agreed and did the needful.
Whenever I buy something in India, sellers (thinking I am a tourist), try to increase the price saying “it is hand-made”. I always smile back and say: “We are in India, hand-made should be cheaper.” Just in India, I saw and understood that even after things are automated, it doesn’t reduce the workforce. In the elevator: a worker might be sitting to press buttons for you. In the shopping mall center: a worker might be standing to pass you the ticket from the ticket machine (yes, the one that opened 10-20 cm from your car window!). Workers are everywhere, even if automated solution is already there in place.
MAID in INDIA
Before I tell you more, first I will recommend you a great book: Maidless in Mumbai by Payal Kapadia. With this lecture you will understand maids better and maids management concepts in India and you will smile too! How many maids a family can have? One is a minimum, 5 is not surprising! My Better Half‘s close friend in Mumbai has 5 maids visiting their house daily (not during Covid times). And that’s why I mentioned ‘maids management’ concept. Imagine you have 5 maids coming to your home on daily basis (usually starting early in the morning) and each of them has another responsibility. 1st: cooks, 2nd: washes floors, 3rd: washes dishes, 4th: does dusting, 5th: throws garbage. Interesting, right? And then how to manage it! Maids might be also living at someone’s place and supporting on daily basis with other maids coming over for daily tasks only. Complicated? Visit an Indian house!
I have visited 43 countries so far but I have never seen anywhere so much dedication to breakfasts! In Poland we are pretty creative with breakfasts and we eat a lot in the morning. Still, India is just ahead! Dedicating 1 hour in the morning to prepare by cooking from the scratch a breakfast meal is just wow. From dosas, parathas, idlis to upmas, egg omelets, vada. Variety is huge. That’s also where I was surprised to eat potatoes for breakfast, I wrote about it in my previous blog post. For sure, India is incredible, it can really surprise!
Another surprise! Alcohol is not served as a tradition in India. Visitors or guests might not enjoy it during home visits. It is only served with very close visitors (close friends). If you are part of a close friends circle, don’t be surprised that alcohol and snacks (just like chai / coffee) will be served before dinner. The one that always makes me wonder: whenever we have friends at home, a group of 10-12 people, we buy so little alcohol. Hmm. Maybe that’s more European thing (or Polish :p). The quantity of alcohol we buy in India would match to 2 people drinking in Poland. Or maybe a reverse tip this time: if you are from India, watch out when you have guests from Poland or Europe. 😀
This might be a bit more known fact: India loves joint families. Living all together is very common. Usually a couple would stay with parents of the boy. And if this boy has more brothers, their families would live together too. So it might be multigeneration and multifamily under one roof. Last year I went with Our Bigger Angel to her friends’ house. It was a big house with separate flats on each floor. All door open, all family members running between different floors and flats. That was a new thing for me.
NEW BORN BABY
It is said that India makes a world record with ~50 babies born per minute! So what’s so special about new babies born? This item really surprised me! In the south of India, once the baby is born, it is very common that the mother and baby would relocate to mother’s family for 6 months. Yes, father would stay at home and would visit when possible. As it might be the same city or two different corners of India the frequency of visits might differ a lot. After 6 months, mother and the baby would return home and stay together with father. Did you know that?
quick BONUS ITEMS
If you like Bollywood movies, you might be aware about this item. Many people like to ‘wave’ their head when in agreement. The movement is the same as ‘standard’ way to say “no”, just adding a bit of ‘wave’ move to it. Initially it might be very confusing as nodding the head in agreement might seem that someone is saying no. With a bit of practice to recognize, it is really easy to spot the difference.
‘Do it yourself’? Not really. India’s culture and even language has it incorporated: someone else will help you and do it for you. In fact each verb has its 3 versions: active, passive and ‘delegating passive’ 😀 How about Ikea in India? They have a special service offer: there is an in-house team of assemblers plus additional service provider to ensure assembly services. Since DIY is still a new concept in India, Ikea invites customers for workshops. Usually I travel to India with half luggage full of DIY items!
That’s from my experience from this year only. In Poland notary office are of very high standard. Elegant, excellent interior design and service, makes it always a positive experience, no matter notary costs! So I dressed up a bit better and headed to the notary close to our home in India. It was an evening, just documents pick up. I didn’t take any shawl to cover from mosquitos assuming it will be a nice place, with A/C etc. Hmm. It was a super mini place, very basic outlook and service, just a small street shop. I returned home without documents (there was a delay) and some new mosquito bites.
Yes, yes! IST time zone lives by its rhythm. Just like Spanish ‘mañana’ 😀 Do not expect people to be on time, your work to be completed as per your expectations. There is a reality check to be done. Instead, smile and enjoy – you are lucky – you are in Incredible India!
Moments that matter, no matter how many facts.