I’ve been in India now for (*checks watch) 1/3 of a year (or four months for those of you who don’t work in fractions), and I must admit, it really doesn’t seem that long. Weeks are zipping by, and, rather more depressingly, so are the weekends.
However, I’m beginning to wonder whether or not I’m cheating a little bit out here…or whether it’s just normal for any Westerner (as I’ve taken to referring myself as) to lead the type of life I am.
Take for example the apartment I’m living in right now. It’s brand new. So new, that when I moved in 4 months ago the place was still a building site. The place is fantastic, the right size, it feels like a holiday villa with it’s marble floors, en-suite bathrooms, balconies and roof top veranda (which is seriously calling out for a proper barbeque and beers one Saturday afternoon).
The apartment is decked out with flat screen TV’s, playstations, cinema surround sound, dvd players, cable tv, broadband with wifi router, 2 a/c units…and looking around I can see no less than 5 laptops.
It’s not really the sort of thing you think of when you think of India, is it?
The apartment is cleaned each morning, the washing up is done for me. I have to fight tooth and nail just to be able to do my own washing and ironing…although not really sure why I’m choosing to do it myself.
For dinner, I go to my friend’s parents house across the city, and his Mum cooks the most fantastic (and fattening) South Indian food you can imagine. Every meal is superb. But that brings me on to my next point, I’ve not even had to cook while being here…not even boiling some rice or pasta.
Transportation is usually courtesy of my friend who drives around everywhere (the Indian government is crippling itself by heavily subsidizing the price of fuel. Official inflation is running at 8%, they reckon without the fuel subsidy it would be as high as 17%!). The only time I use other transport is in the morning to get to work, occasionally at the weekends and after work.
The weekends are generally boozy, or have been the last few months (with some crazy-bad hangovers to boot). Either at one of the few bars and nightclubs in the city or at people’s homes. It’s definitely not your typical Indian weekend, where people have often told me on a Monday morning how their weekend was that they spent it “re-arranging my clothes shelves and doing my laundry”.
So, all this leads me to the conclusion that although I’m living in India, I’m kinda cheating.