Recently, I visited India after a gap of four years (my longest gap yet). Because of the relatively longer gap, there were certain things, done by either me or others that surprised me, or made me think. Based on those, I have compiled the following list.
You know you’re visiting India after a long time when
- You leave a one foot gap between you and the person in front of you in a queue.
- You drink only bottled water.
- You take five minutes to cross the road (which you used to cross in five seconds).
- You have this expression on your face anytime you are in an automobile on the road:
(In other words, you are now doing all those things that you once thought were ridiculous when your NRI* cousins/uncles/aunts did it when they visited you in India)
- Being addressed as ma’am or sir by people (salespersons, waiters etc.) feels new to you.
- You are surprised when a random female stranger in the mall pinches the cheeks of your baby (with affection) - without asking or telling - while you are holding her.
- You are surprised when salespersons offer to hold your baby while you shop.
- You smile when this happens to you because you know “it happens only in India”: You are asked by a salesman in Shoppers Stop (a department store) to sign up for their rewards card. You say it would be no use to you as you live in Canada. The salesman replies with a little sadness and a little hope, “Ma’am phir kisi relative ko card de dena” (Translation: Then give your points card to a relative in India).