Top 25 Life Lessons of India
Our time in Hyderabad is coming to a halting close. We have attended many a goodbye dinner, shared our talents with each other, and have begun to depart on our end of semester travels. As we jet off into the vibrant, smog induced sunset, I have taken some time to reflect on all that we have learned. On top of the basics–how to eat with our hands and navigate the city–we have gained some personal lessons through hilarious, heart felt moments with the motherland of all subcontinents. Surrounded by a billion people in a land the same size as the US (for reference the US has about 300 million residents), a few were bound to touch and change our lives. For better or worse, we came, we made mistakes, we laughed, we learned.
- If it is your birthday and Madhuri buys you a cake—steer clear. Her intentions are to smear frosting all over your face. Chocolate mask anyone?
- Flower strands work best as topknot accents, but prepare for the stares as a bun is considered an “old lady hairdo”. You cannot win here because the young girl braid will stick to your neck until you are tempted to shave it all off.
- Learning to love Goolab Jamun (rose water donut holes) and hating masala chai.
- How to successfully navigate via shared autos from the locals only Gopanpalli to broken English hubs of Gachibowli. Janahai?
- If you snipe pictures of pensive Kalyan, he will take some unflattering ones back.
- How to crash 5 star hotels to spend an afternoon poolside for all the luxury at none of the cost.
- Indicorn is always a good idea, the disappointment in crunchiness is a part of the experience. Ten points if you eat it after its been on the ground. Twenty if you wash it down with masala flavored lemonade.
- The people you meet on sleeper trains are your family for an extended period of time—get to know them. Whether that is racing their kids on the platform, sharing food and beds, or having someone translate as you converse in three different languages—enjoy it.
- Denim jumpers are never a good idea. Fedoras, or adventure hats, always are.
- Never trust a man named Ravi. We did not learn our lesson the first time, so the following four incidents involved a Ravi in someway or another: (11-14)
- Hampi baaaaaang (we blame him for the turtle incident)
- Harmless motorcycle lessons that lead to months of stalking.
- Secret love affairs of the Goa Marriot lead to star cross lovers!
- If someone offers you a takeaway margarita, you decline. No matter how badly you want it!
- Paneer is always a good idea. Just do not question what it is made of–tofu? cheese? Also, sometimes paneer is written on menus as “fried cottage cheese”—this is just confusing to all parties involved.
- Do not expect to ever understand bus and train routes/schedules. It will require more thinking than your academics for the entire semester.
- South Gate (Gopanpalli) is the mecca for all your daily needs—knock off prescriptions, KF Strong, Oreos, noodles, milk bags, and half moon cookies. Remember you probably only spent USD $5 the entire semester in this alley of possibilities.
- It is worth the risk of fleas to get to know every puppy you pass. Both of you need a little love, all the time.
- There will always be a “Queen of the Smoking Parlour” if it happens to be you one night, reassess your life in the coming week. Then do it again.
- If you meet a friendly, older couple on vacation, adopt them as your parents and reap the benefits. Hello free prawns. Also, chances are they know everyone and will set you up nice on your future travels. WHATTUP MAAMTA!
- Pointing at any man and asking (demanding) a drink will always be successful. Do not be saree.
- Bacon Cheeseburgers exist; they are even topped with onion rings. Accompanied with fries and milky shakes, DO NOT FORGET WHAT HOME TASTES LIKE. Note: refrain from looking out the window where the holy, decorated cows are crossing the street. You will feel guilty.
- Magic Masala and French Salt and Pepper Lays are better than any American chip flavor. Ever. No argument. On that note, the McSpicy Chicken Sandwich is only rivaled by the KFC Curry Crunch chicken strips. Indian fast food>>>>
- Hitchhiking is always a good idea. Walk away and feign deafness if they try to get your number because that leads to 15+ calls/texts a day (or hour). If they crash with you on the back once, we see you Karen, give them a second chance. They mean well!
- Embrace your emotions. If you hate the dust and heat, hide from them. If you love the sun and breeze, experience them. Do not suppress any feeling or this may lead to the Goa Blow Up of 2013.
Side note: if you choose to include your program director and best dosts name, dont spell it wrong! SHOUTOUT KALYAN!!
As you are thinking to yourself, “But HEY, she still has 19 more days!” let me tell you I know I may be jumping the gun here a little bit. I still have two weeks of memories to go and I cannot wait to share them. But those memories will be across the country, in new, unpredictable territory. I will learn so many things as I backpack around the North of India, that I could fill an entire blog dedicated to my enlightenment. These are the things I learned day to day as I studied the culture, people, colors, smells, and memories from the past five months.
AND NOOOOOW PRESENTINNNNGG, “KAYPEE AND STEMMA TAKE EL NORTE” (after we finish our exams of course…….we are totally studying right now and not going out to dinner or anything……)