A Taste for India

Just a few days away before we land in Delhi for the start of an epic journey thru parts of India, north and south, part of it visiting family, part of it not. It’s been almost ten years since I’ve ventured south, almost twenty since I’ve been anywhere north. There are some things I know. Much more that I do not. Hopefully, I am prepared for all of it. I’m ok with not being prepared for any of it. I expect to be tested in ways that will challenge my patience, knowing full well that I’m a patient man. I expect to be gawked at. For once, being at the center of attention does not sound attractive. Despite my heritage, I scream “foreigner”.

I expect everything about the lines in India to drive me batty. The insanity of the Indian traffic, the loudness of it all, it’s massive chaos and apparent lack of rules. The lines at the airports and on the streets, its peoples bustling about. The term “single file” a foreign concept, people jockeying for position, as I try to protect my belongings. So I expect my space to be invaded, early and often. That being said, while the masses have a frenetic mind of its own, I expect the kindness and the warmth of the Indian people to put a smile on my face.

I expect to be negotiating at every turn. I’d like to think years of being in sales have prepared me for this. I fear that it may not. Whether it’s on the plane, on the train or in a cab. Whether it’s on the streets or in the shops. Especially on the streets and in the shops. I expect that I may go ape shit haggling over Rs 100, which amounts to less than $2. Getting nickel and dimed always frustrates me; and this could be worse. Worse still, I may be the one nickel and diming.

I expect to be concerned over the time, specifically Indian Standard Time. India has a pace all its own; and not much can move it. Things happen when they want to happen; things get done when they want to get done.

On the bright side (pun intended), I expect the world to be full of vibrant colour, as if I’m seeing the world thru Blue Blocker lenses for the first time, living in a commercial for almost three weeks. Saris, salvar kameez, turbans, luingis, various plants, spices, etc. The bright yellows, oranges, reds and blue will shine thru every single moment of our stay.

I expect dining to be a cornucopia of extravagant flavours (and hopefully avoid Delhi belly). The curries, the dal, the tikka masala, the tandoori, the naan, saag, aloo, the puri, the paratha, the curd, the lassi, etc. I intend to lose weight due to the heat, but maintain balance thru sustenance.

I watched “Million Dollar Arm” this afternoon, of the first two ball players ever drafted into Major League Baseball. It’s got almost everything I love in a movie: India, baseball and a little romance. If there were dogs and there was time travel, the movie would be perfect.

The first half of the movie is primarily set in India, parts of Delhi, Jaipur, Agra and Mumbai, all places we will be visiting. Much of what I am excited about I felt from and saw in the movie. And now I am even more excited to go.

I expect things to not go as planned. And I expect to be very ok with that.

I also expect to be extremely happy.
And happier still cos I’ll be with my closest friend, whose challenges may far outweigh mine. He screams “foreigner” even more than me.

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