I wish I could claim this post, but my amazing husband, Rick Thexton, is the actual author. As we prepare to leave Mumbai after 2 year, he reflects on lessons learned, at least from his perspective. Yours will be different!
Not one single person can tell you what you can truly expect to experience in India. Ignore the unsolicited words of advice from well meaning “know-it-alls” and “done-it-alls”. The Mumbai experience is a fingerprint. What you see and how it will affect you is singularly unique. Open your eyes, heart and mind and leave your expectations at home.
This is my fingerprint:
Drinking tap water isn’t adventurous. It’s a trip to the bathroom or a hospital.
Any morning drinking coffee and watching the ocean is a good morning.
Mumbai is both the hardest and the easiest city on the planet. No, I will not explain.
Solitude is both valuable and overrated. It’s a Mumbai thing.
Cappuccino machines and French presses make for good coffee. You import some coffee beans and an expat or two for great coffee.
Children made to beg is tragic and should make you sad.
Street dogs make you feel special, like you are the only human for them, until the next special person comes along.
Bombay Belly is real. You are not a Mumbaikar until you’ve pooped your pants a little.
The English may have introduced bureaucracy to India, but Indians have elevated it to an art form. The continuum of events and conversation between “not possible” and possible is worthy of any stage.
Taking advantage of the “white guy” isn’t personal. It may be expected, business, or even sport, but never personal. Indians reserve personal for relationships. Food, drinks and friends on the rooftop is personal.
All of your beautiful plants back home are from India. If they didn’t originate here, they’re not that beautiful. Look it up…
Friends and gatherings are more valuable than sleep. This is both an observation and regret.
Early and late are relative.
A hand gesture, a head waggle and the statement “10 minutes” means absolutely nothing.
Royal Enfield Motorcycles are COOL!
It’s ok to have an India Sucks day once in a while. If it continues to suck, it isn’t India…
Trash, filth and foul smells are only superficial distractions to keep the true adventurers away. I am guilty of being a shut-in from time to time. Regret.
It’s okay to be big in India. My 20 inch neck seems to amaze the tailor, who invites his friends to look while he holds the tape around my throat.
The high pitched giggle of our housekeeper is always funny.
Housekeepers, taxi drivers, custodians and helpers of every sort are people. Be nice to them.
Our time in India is over and I am happy to be off to the next adventure. Sitting in my favorite coffee shop and reflecting has moved me realize how deeply I am affected by our time here.