This has happened to all of us, hasn’t it? We're rushing to whatever urgent thing we have got going, perhaps work, maybe college, or possibly a social gathering we are way too late for. We forget our keys, our wallets, maybe even our sanity in the hustle and bustle of the Indian life. Not to mention endless traffic! Sometimes, I wonder if there's an invisible traffic fairy who sprinkles her congestion-dust on roads just when I have a vital meeting scheduled. Once, I lost my car key amidst the morning commotion, only to find Luna, our Siamese cat, playing with it in the evening!
Being a husband and a father of two, Hiran and Malini, my mornings have their own symphony of chaos. Believe me, orchestrating the breakfast harmony while breaking up squabbles is no less than a Herculean task. Now, sprinkle some of the Indian societal norms of doing everything precisely on time, and you've got a bracing cocktail of drama and tension. Once, in our race against time, my wife Mira mistook salt for sugar in our morning tea. A bitter start, quite literally. But hey, that's part of the charm of Indian family life.
Ahh, the public transportation in India. It's like a survival game, isn't it? There have been times when I've thought that a particular bus or train has more people than it should be physically possible. Honestly, India can take any room, bus or train, put people into it until it reaches its maximum capacity, and then add some more. Do you know there was a time when I found a chicken in a bus, casually hiding under a seat? If that does not encapsulate the Indian everyday struggle, I don't know what does.
The unsolicited advisors are a kernel of Indian social fabric that we have grown accustomed to. You know, those well-meaning relatives, neighbours or even strangers who will offer their two cents on all your life decisions, asked or otherwise. I remember when Mira and I decided to adopt Luna, our pet cat, the entire neighbourhood formed an impromptu council to dissect our decision. 'Why a cat, why not a cow for milk?' they wondered, much to our amusement.
Power cuts in India, especially in summers, are an unwelcome guest that makes an appearance without any announcement. Sweating like a marathon runner while waiting for electricity to restore is indeed a struggle. Now, imagine my plight when my office elevator stopped amidst one such unsuspected power cut. The few minutes I spent in that elevator felt like hours. An interesting fact – Did you know around 5% of total power generated in India is lost in transmission and distribution?
Driving on India roads often feels like waging a war against potholes. The dips, bumps, and sudden shallows on the roads often cause nuisance and even accidents. Navigating through this labyrinth is a struggle to remember and a battle to win every day. It turns even more adventurous in monsoons, when every pothole turns into a mini pool. Quite a risky splash, wouldn't you agree?
Last but not least; the quintessential struggle: Bargaining. It’s not just a skill, but for many of us, a reflex action when we go shopping in India. From apparels to vegetables, from utilities to auto-rickshaws, there is hardly any sphere untouched by the art of bargaining. Remember the rule of thumb – if the vendor agrees to your price too quickly, you probably could have gotten it for a little less. Now, here's a funny anecdote. During one of our flea market expeditions, Mira and the shopkeeper got into such a hearty bargain that they ended up having tea together!
These everyday struggles of life in India make the country what it is. It's a lively hustle, with a dash of chaos and a drizzle of the unexpected. In between the surprises and the chaos, life happens in its most colourful and audible form.