Today is my one year anniversary in India. It was almost at midnight of today one year ago when I got to Chennai airport. The passage from the terminal exit was packed with the drivers with a white uniform holding a board with their passenger’s name on. The air was filled with heat and moisture. The noise of honking and beeping was almost deafening.
Since then, I have experienced so many exciting things in this incredible country. To summarize my first year, I collected some numbers – 234 meals, 5 jackpots, and 702 hours. Here we go:
‘Do you eat curry everyday?’ was the most frequently asked question when I met my friends back in Japan. My answer – yes, almost. I have had 234 curries last year.
During the weekday, I have my lunch at the cafeteria, which serves variety or Indian meals a.k.a. curries. The food there is not the greatest, but not bad either. 234 (= 5 days a week annually minus 16 holidays & 20 vacation days) may be a conservative number since I sometimes have curries for dinner and on the weekend too. Now I can tell good curry and bad curry.
So I enjoy the local food, but sometimes it costs – not monetarily (my lunch budget is 70 rupees or $1.30,) but physically. As far as I recall, I have had a food poisoning five times in the past one year. A minor stomach upset doesn’t count, as it occurs almost every month. A food poisoning is when you get a fever and keep running to the bathroom for days. I’ve got food poisoned from variety of sources – a samosa from a street vendor, fruit juice at a restaurant, or often times unknown. I don’t believe I had one from the cafeteria, but who knows.
Hygiene is still an issue here in India. Tap water is considered contaminated and you know that by its color and smell. Garbage is not collected regularly and left for days on the street (right next to that samosa stall!) Alarmingly-colored rivers flow in the city carrying unbearable smell to a nice roof-top restaurant. There are many things to do to the city’s infrastructure.
Talking about the infrastructure, traffic is another issue. The government is trying to keep up with the skyrocketing volume of traffic, by building highways, overpasses, subways and monorails. However, the demand way exceeds the supply. Roads are always congested, worsened by never-ending constructions.
On average, it takes 1.5 hours for me to commute from home to the office. So, I’m in the car for 3 hours every weekday. 3 hours times 234 days equals to 702 hours, for which I have spent on the road last year. Surprisingly, 702 hours is 29.25 days or almost one month worth time. Living one month in the car? Not bad. Anyway that’s how I find time to write this blog!
A happy anniversary, India! It’s been great experiencing you. And I’m certain we’ll have another great year ahead!