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April 30, 2015

Lessons learned in India

Posted by Petra Lindros
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Break the rulesKnow the rules so you can break them

Red light, green light, police waiving in the middle of the street!
Hey, they all mean absolutely nothing. Just honk your horn, use all the lanes possible at the same time, avoid the cows though and you will for sure get there on time and safely! I would recommend earplugs though, for the ones sensitive to horns honking the whole time. I mean the WHOLE time.

Petra & RuthRead between the hotel description lines (and do not trust website pictures)

Smaller room and low ceilings mean; walk in and back out. Or crawl. But that brings me to a side lesson: Location is Key. And 4 star in India is a cute little experience. We stayed at Abode hotel in Mumbai, fantastic location with amazing staff and great breakfast. AC necessary. And earplugs necessary with AC on. But hey, with all the stimulation during the day you sleep really well no matter what!

a city with 18 million peopleDifference lays in the eyes of the beholder

What amazed me were the amazing faces, expressions and the sense of pulse only a city with 18 million people can offer. I wanted to stop, take pictures and ask questions, but was to shy or embarrassed to do so many times. But they, with their open curiosity and friendliness, were having NO PROBLEM whatsoever approaching. I suddenly realized I was the monkey in the Zoo, and that I might be on the endangered list, so they had to get a picture before my species are gone. Hearts have a beautiful way of understanding each other without words.

First deal can be the best dealFirst deal can be the best deal

I really dislike shopping. I get so easily over stimulated, stressed and while looking at things I absolutely do not need, there is a shift in my mind that makes me feel like I can not live any longer without “that thing”. I truly believe (momentarily) that it will make me HAPPIER!!!! Problem in India, you need to master the art of bargaining. That is very tiresome and not a fun game, as some people claim it to be. Suddenly I start feeling sorry for the salesperson, and I end up buying way more then I need, and even things I do not like. The absolute best deals (and prettiest things) we found along the million stairs up to the Elephant caves. (ok, not a million but close). But since that was my first day in India, I figured it will get better and cheaper somewhere else. But NO. Trusting my gut feeling next time, and as my grandma always said: Whatever is done is done.

Even if I cannot create my own story, I can be the hero of it

A successful story has a certain beginning, middle part and a happy or tragic ending. It seemed like the salespeople really knew their story. And after a while it almost seemed like the same story. They came from the same town. Big family. Poor conditions. The only one working. Really bad season. Born with bad luck. Promise me to come back. Made me think of how lucky we are in the west with our different stories. Come from different places. Small families. Lucky conditions. Pretty much all working. Having had good seasons lately. Born with good luck. And we do not really need someone to come back to purchase something for 25 cents to be able to feed our kids

TrainAlways pay the extra 20 euros extra for first class

Red light, green light, police waiving in the middle of the street!
Hey, they all mean absolutely nothing. Just honk your horn, use all the lanes possible at the same time, avoid the cows though and you will for sure get there on time and safely! I would recommend earplugs though, for the ones sensitive to horns honking the whole time. I mean the WHOLE time.

The SunStrangers may want to help you for the sake of helping

The friendliness was overwhelming. It is hard to get used to that strangers always offer their assistance and advice for NO OTHER reason then to HELP. I noticed I was on my guard. What do they want? Any small moment of my eyes flickering, feeling a bit lost-boom, there was someone offering phone, advice, translation or a smile. Suddenly you feel connected for no other reason then simply being connected. Not connected because you offer or need anything. Not connected because you owe anything. Connection soul to soul is precious.

PetraHuman connection outweighs risk of being sick

Before I went, I entered the fear zone of what will happen if I get sick. All nightmare stories were shared with me about how sick you can get, do this, do not do that, eat only what only YOU have touched, no one else and the list can be a mile long.

I noticed early it would be impossible to have a true Indian experience that way. Second day we went to a beautiful temple, I was in complete heaven, observing all and feeling grateful to be part of something they live with constantly. We sat down on a bench after we got our blessing and just digested it all. Suddenly the neighbor family next to us, watching us with big eyes, smiling and opening up a box of home made sweets that they offer to us. There is that moment of “Oh dear...”, but that passed in a milli second and gratefully I accept the lovely sharing and feel the sweets melting in my mouth. That was my second blessing. It would have been worth being sick for days. I would say, every meal we ate in small little “shady” restaurants was worth getting sick for. Thank you Ruth for holding my hand out of my comfort zone, and allowing me to hurry slowly.


35 degrees in humidityCreativity helps to stay cool

I knew I was pushing it with going end of March, early April, in regards to monsoon and heat. But 35 degrees in dry heat and 35 degrees in humidity are two different things. There is a point where you just want to crawl out of your own skin and occupy the fridge. And with all the happy-biting mosquitos, there were no choice but to keep the mosquito net fully covering around the bed. Plenty of fans, but not so useful since the net was stopping the air from entering and cooling down the sun boiling skin. Weighing the risks of loosing the hair or a toe putting the fan inside of the net, I decided to loose a toe. I mean, I still have 9 more of those. Pure happiness when we noticed the cable was long enough and together with the correct angle of the face of the fan, air finally hit both of us evenly. That is MUDITA. Complete JOY!


ColorsColors make me happy!

Everywhere I went were colors in all shades and nuances. The food, the clothes, the sunrise and sunsets, even the inside of the taxis. It lifted my spirit, and inspired me to give my wardrobe a little face-lift…. a bit less black, grey and brown and more red, yellow and blue. I rather look like a summers day then a storm arriving in the horizon


MiraclesYou do not have to understand how something works. Never question a miracle

I love that I do not have to understand how it all works. I just need to trust the instructions and follow them. Ta-da, I can actually print a document from Mumbai to a printer in Bromölla Sweden. I have no idea how it is possible, but yes it works. Same with all the cables that criss crossed and somehow lit up the streets, crossing the street with everyone ignoring if it is green or red. When I booked our train trip I was waitlisted for two months, and everyone told me not to worry it will clear a few hours before. And it did. Hard lessons for a control freak.


Always have a few movies downloaded on your lap top

Our train trip was amazingly on time. I was so excited to share the news with everyone who kept saying it would be the longest day of your life. Ten minutes before we arrived to our final destination, we stopped and had to wait for an incoming train. And we waited. And waited. About two hours later we rolled out and ten minutes after that we stepped out in Goa. It helped to keep my mind steady watching a movie that I had downloaded on iTunes. Ruth was listening to her music. Find ways to trick the mind so it will not disturb your peace. It is there to drive you crazy, unless you hold the reins tightly. We cannot choose what will happen to us, but how we respond to it.


Petra & FabianHome sweet home

As much as I love travelling, exploring, seeing and feeling new things, there is such a comfort to come home to routine, family and your own bed. There is a renewed appreciation of very simple things and retreating means that you come back with new force, insight and energy. There is no need to go to India, Bali or even the mountains in Andalucia. We can retreat within our homes, even if only for a day. Find silence; evaluate what takes energy versus what brings me energy. Make small changes. Because the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.


Namaste,

Petra

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