Things I was really worried about when I decided to take Yaya to India was our safety and falling ill. When I left India in 1994, even walking on MG road in Bangalore, men bumped in to me deliberately and copped a feel. Yaya has a personal bubble around her and hates anyone encroaching her private space and I was worried how she would cope in India. It was surprising that no one bumped in to us, no one stared at our boobs or attempted to strip our clothes with their eyes. I felt pretty safe walking in the streets.
What bothered me the most was a lack of proper phone connection. Before leaving Australia, I had asked a friend a to get me a phone number. Somehow, with the Indian number, I couldn’t send any txt to my children in Australia and then the number suddenly stopped working on day 2. I couldn’t get it fixed. Then on the third day, it started working, but this time, it started sending me a message every nano second informing me ” you have used ‘x’ mb of your data” or ” you have this much of credit” It reached a stage, I switched off the phone.
I was going on a date to Hard Rock café in Bangalore. At 5 pm, I asked the hotel reception to book me a cab for 7.30 pm. At 6, they called me to say, I have to do it by myself and they connected me to ‘for sure cab’. They said they will send a cab FOR SURE at 7.30 pm. About 7:20, the cab driver calls me up for direction to my hotel. I have been in Bangalore for a day by then and there is no way I could give the direction. ( those who know me would say, even if I stayed in Bangalore for a decade, they will still not ask me directions, my friends here are still looking for a restaurant in Oxley where I organized a get together and the actual place is in Graceville, two different suburbs 20 km apart) Besides, isn’t the driver supposed to know where he is going? I gave the driver the hotel number and asked him to get the direction from them. 7;30, he calls again asking for direction. I had a friend with me at that time and she tried to give him the direction. Whatever landmark she said, the cabbie had no idea. By 8 pm my date has already been waiting for me at Hard rock café for 30 minutes. I am pedantic when it comes to keeping time and I was going crazy. At 8:40, the cab finally arrives. I asked him to take me to Hard rock café, near LIC building on St. Marks road and he asked ” route gothakitha?” I contemplated strangling the driver before I got out of the cab. I was in no mood to chodichu chodichu povam I called the cab company and gave them an earful, they promised to send me a replacement cab within 10 minutes. After 20 minutes of waiting, they let me know that the cab they were meant to send had a breakdown. I had no choice, but to take an Auto, who charged me 120 RS for a 6 km ride and my date waited more than 2 hours for me. Fortunately he is a great guy and I had an awesome time.
I also took plenty of cold showers. I kept forgetting to turn on the water heater and even when I remembered, most places had the hot water tap on the right. ( any plumber will tell you cold on the right and hot on the left ) so I could never get it to work and ended up taking a cold showers.
So what worked? India is incredible. There is so much that works. I met a lovely family in the train who upon noticing that I didn’t order dinner ( I was scared of getting food poisoning, so was planning to eat biscuits for dinner) insisted that Yaya and I share their dinner. A stranger found a hotel for me to stay because my phone wasn’t working. A hotel security guard walked with me to the auto stand early morning because he didn’t want Yaya and I to walk alone. A blog reader helped me get a train ticket and paid for it, even though she has never seen me and only knew me through the blog.
And for the first time, I was sad to leave India. I came home and told my children, I think I want to visit India more often. They were stunned.