It only took three years, but I’ve become an Indian. I take my shoes off before entering a home; I eat spicy food; I bow and place my hands in front of my face to greet people; I waggle my head and eat a lot of rice; I wear pants and long sleeve shirts on sweltering summer days; I speak kilos/meters/centigrade; I prefer tea to coffee; I wear long loose tunics and gold bangles; and I don’t cringe at the smell of fish markets. Busses, horns, goats, cows, scrap dealers, flute wallas, chaiwallas, shoe makers, funeral processions, goddess parades, rich pigmented celebrations, human pyramids, church bells, calls to prayer, Ghanpati drumlines, and rickshaws don’t phase me. I didn’t think it was possible for me to adjust to this way of life, but somehow it’s become my normal.
Not for long though, in August, I will trade meandering lanes for straight lined streets. Colorful spices for white rice and fish. Rickshaws for bullet-trains. And 24 hour noise for almost deafening silence after dark. I’m moving to another vibrant Asian city, one whose description couldn’t be more opposite than the one I’ve just called home for three years. It’s exciting to think that, in a few short months I’ll be turning Japanese. Tokyo or bust!