Epilog for Trip to India: Of Foreign Lands, Good People, Different Cultures

What an amazing time I had in India.  The people were wonderful.  Oh, it’s not all wisdom and light, but it certainly was enlightening, overall.

There are so many people, and wages are relatively low, so there are people to do everything.   You do not clear your trays in the fast food restaurant, there are people who rely on a job doing just that.  There are elevator attendants in some places.  There are often four people working a sales counter when one could likely do the job.

Yes, there are people in desperate straits, and they would no doubt like to better themselves, but as long as they aren’t in physical pain, they are relatively happy.  They are accepting of their situation, and they make the best of it.  Here in North America, people in a similar situation would generally be bitter and grumpy.  Not so here – they work hard, and accept their situation as it comes.  Wow, we could learn from that.

They drive like crazy here – cutting in and out, beep-beeping to let each other know where they are, and to warn that they are changing lanes, etc.  But, nobody gets upset!  You have an opening, you pull in, they slow down, no problem.  They are so patient!

Even at intersections – the cross traffic often starts nosing into the intersection six to ten seconds before the light turns green (often there is a countdown beside the traffic light).  When they nose in far enough that the traffic has to stop, it stops – even though they have the green!  Then the red light traffic noses further… and further… and soon they are going right through.  Folks beep-beep-beep away, but nobody gets hot under the collar.  Amazing!

Some things are inexpensive here – food from the supermarket, for example.  Some are quite expensive – electronics like televisions and computers – by my estimation, about 10% to 20% more than in Canada – but that’s just a quick estimate.  Restaurant food seems to be less, too – fast food is about two thirds the cost as in Canada, while higher end restaurants seem to be about half.

Telecommunications is very inexpensive in Bangalore.  Pay-as-you-go mobile telephone costs only a few dollars per month.  That’s right – a few dollars a month.  And satellite television is also only a few dollars per month.  You have to wonder how they do it. 

There is far more litter in India than in Canada.  Far more.  Did I say far more?  Ugh.  We would not put up with the amount of litter that I saw in India.  Unfortunately, the problem is so huge that it seems intractable – so culturally they are not driven to stop littering.  We saw a fellow on the highway toss out a pop bottle, quite intentionally, waiting and aiming for the water while driving over a river bridge.  Now, if that was someone in my family, they would be walking back to pick it up.  But nobody here seems to notice.  Too bad.

It’s hot in Bangalore.  It was 33 to 37 degrees Celsius every day that I was there.  It was dry for the first few days, but then it rained and the humidity went way up.  It’s the humidity that gets to you. 

Manikandan tells me that Chennai, where he and Srinivasan are from, is far hotter than Bangalore – about 4 degrees Celsius, on average.  Ugh. 

In spite of the heat, they do not have air conditioning in their houses.  When they built their houses in Hosur, some five to ten years ago, it was not as hot then, and they decided against putting air conditioning in. 

Did you catch that?  Their estimate is that in the past ten years, it has risen about four degrees Celsius in the past decade or so.  Chennai as well, apparently.  Ever hear of this thing they call Global Warming?  Well, let me assure you, they believe in it in Hosur.

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