A Comedy of Errors
India is a complicated love affair. It is a place where my privileged North American and hurried urbanite background come to a grinding halt. No, we will not fix your refrigerator. No, you may not order that. No, you cannot wear that. No, the electricity is off for now. No, the wifi does not work. No, we will not give you the keys to your room’s closet even though we have told you someone will bring them upstairs three days in a row now. No! Because because.
It is crowded and so humid everything you do feels like a hot yoga class. The car exhaust and dirt chokes you and horns beep so much it has become white noise. The men stare you down and blow kisses and beggars pull at your clothes and block your path. There is shit everywhere and some rancid and indistinguishable smells. To put it simply – it is sensory overload.
Yet despite all that, this country is enchanting! The rickshaw drivers chat you up and love to hear you squeal as they zip in and out of traffic. The flowers and trees are saturated in tropical hues and bursting from every sidewalk and plaza. You happen upon the most ornate and stunning temples in the most unassuming of places. The people are so smily and community oriented. The mangoes are so fragrant they seem fake. The bejeweled saris and vibrant prints are swoon worthy. The music pulls you up off your chair. And the food!
There is this lighthearted roll with the punches attitude that permeates daily life. Maybe it’s their natural disposition, maybe it’s a survival technique, but it’s so charming. And I mean really, you have to laugh it off. Life here is a comedy of errors.
We moved in to our longterm hotel apartments on Wednesday night and nothing is as it said it would be. The room is not fully sealed and mosquitos lurk in the corners waiting for you to come home. My refrigerator doesn’t work. My dresser locks but somehow you can still open it. The drawers that warn you to lock up all valuables or else don’t have keys and no, you may not have them. The bathroom door and shower curtain are covered in mold. The living room and kitchen are outdoors and the only wifi spots, but you will be eaten alive. And none of this will be changing any time soon or ever. Preparation and shoulds be damned. This country doesn’t care – here, take this small violin and move on.
I used my shower for the first time Thursday morning. I had set up all my toiletries on the vanity and remembered to turn on the water heater fifteen minutes before my shower. When, I turned on the shower, water sprayed absolutely everywhere! It gushed every which direction soaking my toiletries and trash can and mirror and toilet paper and towel. I threw open the door and started chucking stuff into my bedroom as fast as I could all the while water was now spraying into my room. I finally slammed the door shut so I could take advantage of the remaining hot water and actually, you know…shower, when I caught my disheveled reflection in the mirror and burst into fits of laughter. What else could you do?! And what a perfect introduction to life in India because there’s been a lot of ridiculous hurdles and even more delirious giggles.