I haven’t talked about “living” in Delhi (India) at all since last summer, probably because I can’t keep up with everything that’s happening, let alone write about it. I regret now, not actively posting here even as a way to sooth my incessant home sickness and for posterity sake at the very least.
It was probably because my three month stay has quickly turned into 6 months. It’s tough to leave but its tough to stay. A place I naturally grew roots in that are now holding me here, roots I never seemed to grow back home, other than through my family.
There are a few things that alter your mind as you stay here too long.
1. You become desensitized to everything. I’m not talking about watching too many horror movies and no longer feeling scared. I’m talking about EVERYTHING like feeling nothing for little kids with no shoes trying to sell you flowers while you’re in an auto rickshaw. Later, nearly barreling into a bus on a diagonal as your driver swerves into a left turn. Not even flinching, as cars honk and speed past you, inches away from your arm. Oh, the power is out again. Oh, there is no water. Oh, I have never seen that type of bug in my life. In any case, this is daily life here that you some how end up getting used to it. Is this a good thing? Well, its definitely tests your adaptation skills.
Some “first time things” can be scary, like getting so sick, you feel as though your stomach turned inside out.
2. You become mean. I find that the majority of people here only look out for themselves. This is apparent in the way they drive, the complete lack of respect for the land, and how very rarely do people “pay it forward”. I have never seen anyone offer up their seat on the metro to an older woman, if anything I see those same women fight off younger women for a seat.
Furthermore, you have to abandon all of your polite and courteous ways as it signals a sign of weakness, especially when conducting business. From negotiating an auto, to getting a coffee, to getting boxes made, all has to be done in a mean and curt way. Or else, that person will over charge you, make you burnt coffee and never deliver the boxes you ordered.
3. You become anxious. As a woman, its a cold hard reality that you could get raped in Delhi. Imagine that as a reality though, its messed up! This causes a general sense of over-protectiveness by close male friends and an overwhelming sense of anxiety once the clock strikes 7 pm and I am not safely home behind a locked door, with a guard dog, security cameras and a 24/7 outside guarded gate.
I know I have painted a dark picture of my stay here. It’s not all that bad.
Only crazy people do what I have done: left utopia and what could have been a comfortable life to try and start a company from scratch with no outside money and on a different continent. I actually ended up meeting people who are just as crazy as me, who have foregone normality and routine for the unknown. It’s been hard, and depressing at times, but I know that I was willing to put myself out there and try this out at a time I had nothing to lose and no real responsibilities.
What is a year of your life doing the most craziest and scariest thing? In the end, it builds life experiences, wisdom, character, and a tough skin. Moreover, as an entrepreneur, if I can make it here, I can make it anywhere.