Life in India – Them’s the Rules
A fond look at the rules for day-to-day living in India – now we’re 4 week experts….
Tuktuk and taxi drivers:
Always drive at full speed whatever the circumstances particularly in potholed roads or over sleeping policeman. Never look behind you when moving into traffic or ever use your mirrors except to talk to your passengers. Honk your horn loudest and longest and you’ll be the first through the traffic. If a junction is full of non-moving cars/lorries/motorbikes/tuktuks/bicycles, pile straight in and add to the melee. Always take a fare even if you have no idea where they want to go – someone somewhere will have an answer.
Any hint of cleanliness at your store will imply that you have time to clean it and therefore are not so busy with customers. If you want your place to look like the most popular joint in town make sure it resembles a disease- ridden cess pit, that way you’ll have customers flocking from far and wide.
Zebra crossings may look like places to cross the road but they will stop in the middle of the road. Just start walking but don’t look at the traffic; put your hand out (in a speak to the hand attitude) and you’ll be fine. Never ever react to horns honking at you – they’ll avoid you. Never ever stop walking – that’s when accidents happen.
Ladies in saris:
Colour is the new black. You must wear at least 3 different non-matching colours in 6 different patterns at the same time, preferably more. Arms, feet and midriffs can be shown to the world but nothing else whatsoever. Never wear 2 bracelets when 16 are so much better – remember they don’t need to match. If in doubt add more bling.
Remember to catch up on the daily newspapers when on duty especially at security stops or on traffic duty. Always go round in groups of 8 and make the youngest do the work. Never stop people from passing baggages to friends on the other side of security checks so they can circumvent the queues.
The only reason most of us come to India is because our homes are lacking hand made rugs from Kashmir and enourmous carved elephants. Be sure not to miss any opportunity to invite us in to your store to show us what we could take home in our meagre baggage allowance.
If a carriage looks packed to the gunwales, there is always room for at least 30 more people – just jump in en masse and the sheer volume of human flesh will stop anyone flying out of the open doors when the train is moving. Old ladies should always sit down in groups at the entrance to carriages and pinch the legs of anyone trying to get out at their stop. In sleeper carriages, remember to take every incoming phone call and speak as loudly as possible so everyone can hear your business; never ever switch your phone to silent mode.
Lack of sleep can be very dangerous so catch up on it wherever and whenever you can – just roll up in a blanket and get a little shut eye; day or night it doesn’t matter. Cows, dogs and goats should particularly lie down in the middle of the road – nothing should disturb you, possibly a little honking.
Feeling a trifle phlegmmy; bladder uncomfortably full? Don’t suffer unnecessarily. The streets are ideal places to gob and pee so you’ll feel better in a jiffy.
Saris look lovely on Indian ladies with dark hair and brown skin; they do not look lovely on our pallid western hues and much like Greek wine, will never travel well. Don’t complain about the rubbish, it just is. Delhi belly is a probability but you will probably survive; yes some people get put on intravenous drips in hospital but much like being pick-pocketed, have you ever met anyone who has suffered either? India is a vast, unfathomable, welcoming and joyous country – smile and relax and generally all will be fine.