Another year of an indescribable life-changing experience being an expat in India is over. I remember how exactly one year ago I was doing all the process talking constantly to Gaukhar, a girl I actually never met in real life yet, to be honest. It’s all been texts and audio messages. The beauty of social network:) She told me about the opportunity of working with one of the leading Indian companies in the IT industry. Job description, opportunities, everything looked new and appealing. At that time I was in the search of career path, so I decided why not. I took a chance and applied to work in Service Desk with Russian customers in SAP technology.
Phase 1.”How the first day goes, most probably the whole term will go that way”
I remember how I came to India last October. AIESECers met me at the airport. It was sunny weather, the youngsters dreaming to change the world were excited to meet another agent of positive changes of their own. AIESEC spirit was flowing around. The whole drive to the hotel quickly past in the flow of conversation. Due to my flights, I haven’t slept a night, so once reaching the hotel I fell asleep for an hour or two. Waking up I decided to go Secunderabad to find out about the part-time job I wanted to do in my free time. And I went without a sim card with 400 rupees in my pocket. Yeah, adventurous person, I am. 🙂 The issue was that once I entered the local bus, it started raining cats and dogs. Despite heavy rain and mess around, I reached my destination. I talked to a person. Hoping to get a sim card, I entered in one local sim provider shop. Unfortunately, only locals can buy a sim card, I’ve been told. “You need to have an Aadhar card”, I’ve been told.
Here I was: no internet to find my way back, in the middle of Secunderabad. But the guys in the shop were so kind as to share the internet with me to find my way back. However, it didn’t help much. I went to the nearest bus stop and started to talk to people about the best option to reach Hitec City. Luckily there was a girl to have the same destination point. We talked, we laughed and she shared the internet with me. Once our bus reached, I find out that it wasn’t the best option to go with. See, during the rain, Hyderabad becomes a really messy place with traffic all around it. So we stuck there in the middle of the road for an hour or two. Feeling tired, hungry and irritated, with the girl next to me we decided to get off at the nearest place and take an auto. And so we did. At that point, the auto was half full and was about to get out of it, when suddenly I realized my phone was not there. I looked in my bag. It wasn’t there too. So I started to run after auto, but it was too far. So I thought maybe, just maybe it fell down, so I started walking back. It wasn’t there. I didn’t really get what happened: has it been stolen or it’s just fall out from my pocket.
So, luckily, I met some girls on the road, they were kind to me and ordered an Uber for me to my hotel. Here I was at 11 pm on my first day, no food taken in the last 12 hours, no phone and no money. Staff on the reception hearing all this, took me to a police station. On the way back, he fed me in the nearest Subway and brought me back. And this all happened in one day or day one of my internship in 2018, in Hyderabad.
You may be very surprised to find out that I got my phone back in three months. My new brand phone which I purchased a month ago came back to me in the country with a billion people. I couldn’t believe it in months. But yet, it happened. Thanks to the Cyber police of Madhapur police station. And I still keep believing that country won’t stop surprising me. And it didn’t.
Phase 2. “India is a country of too much”
But “India is a country of too much” I was thinking at one point in time. It’s either too spicy or too sweet. Because you get to use too spicy things, you eat sweet things to sort of neutralize the first one, you know.
Too many people around and too much traffic. Understandable, second populated country, if not first already. 🙂 Hence, almost a crazy absence of personal space for a person who grew up in the vast valleys. Traffic is just full of horning, sometimes reminding you of some kind of process of daily interactions and salutations between drivers. And plus there’s one rule: no rules. It’s not something surprising to see someone driving towards the traffic in the opposite lane, you know.
Too much advance technology. How many cool startups and projects are getting organized and realized there. Just find your people. Skyscrapers, hubs, co-working spaces. Or if you only knew that now you can get delivered literally everything except alcohol. Big whole messes actually are everywhere in the world now, just since India is huge with billion people population you may find it more frequent.
Too strong words and too many feelings. Have you ever known that Hindi words have really strong meaning comparing to others? Maybe you watched a movie one or two. If love someone and get marry, it’s till the end. No other way. And let’s say if you fall in love with someone it’s going to be too much, over your reasonable head. If you can handle it, it’s amazing. My friendly advice, somewhere else yes, but not there, please.
“What enormous efforts it takes to stay in balance?!” I thought.
Final phase 3. “Beauty is in the eye of beholder or you attract what you are”
And then one day I just realized a very simple thing that “Come on, India is the way, you want to see it.” It’s your reflection and energy. You have a good mood and energy spilling out of you, you will find a lot of goodness. You may get things easily, find a lost item or simply meet a nice person, who shares your energy and tells you something valuable. Or just simply appreciate you. They say similar things and people attract each other and it’s just a blessing.
You have some hectic things going. You start to stress out, decided to go with sarcasm and “voila” – you will get things even worse and find yourself in the middle of the chaos. The mailbox is not loading at the needed time, a colleague took a vacation and left a pile of work on you, the document you applied for just simply got canceled without any valid explanation. May be close people you thought are this way, but they aren’t. Everything and everyone you see is through your own prism and bunch of your own expectations. May be they are not their faults and shortcomings, may be they are going through their own fights, as everyone else. We are humans after all. Be kinder 🙂
After all, I believe, that people you meet in India are special. Not that they have some nimbs on their heads or they’re head over into yoga. It’s just something about them. By my fourth time coming here to India I was lucky to have many really good friends and even my few soulmates. Surprisingly, they are from different parts of the world, India, Ukraine, Morocco, Serbia, Colombia. I always wonder how you can feel that close to the people. You haven’t known them to let’s say like a few weeks before, but once you spend some time with them you feel like you know them forever. The energy, humor, experiences that brought them here.
So why people who come to India are so special?!
I think that happens cause not everyone will be considering and be willing to come here. Despite all the myths and stereotypes around this interesting country, to take a courage, get all things done and leave a cozy home country for a year to come to #IncredibleIndia. It takes real something. Everyone has their own stories, challenges and issues along the way to reach the place. But all people magically as the pieces of puzzle, come together at one certain place and time and then leave at the end never being the same. They may choose to struggle, resist and fight or just go along with it and enjoy the ride, no matter what. Or all together. Together. They say together with someone you can overcome mountain size challenges. Well, it’s true. I was lucky to find those people. People of your heart. Those who will be with you no matter what, supporting on the way. And may be one day things will get too hectic or messy, but there will be always people around who have your back. “Time, place, circumstances” used to say my yoga teacher. Accepting, and not judging. We learn through trials and mistakes of our own. They bring us on the right path where we need to be for our self-growth.
And finally, wrap up: “One small life”
Every time, I leave a place, I believe it’s not more like you are leaving people or a place. You are leaving behind your one whole small life. A life with its own routine, habits, work, environment and people. Let’s say when I was living in Thailand, I used to wake up at 6:30, prepare my oats in rice cooker, get ready at 7:30 and run for life in order to be in time for a school before anthem start singing. After work day, I rest a bit and then go to gym, afterwards just go to sleep completely done with the day. In Jakarta I used to wake up at 4:30, cause school day starts at 6:15 and ends at 3 pm, after that prepare for another day and if there’s any event go for it. So here I am leaving another small Hyderabadian life behind. Life of waking up at 7 and moving from one apartment to another. Life of cabs to Adibatla and Telugu-Hindi-English calls with drivers, Swiggy Subways and tons of fruits. Friends around the world, our gatherings, trips, discussions and tight bonds. Yoga mornings, weekends and new friends. Deep dive into the culture. Constant self-learning, understanding and growth.
As a ritual, I make a list of things I learnt after experience. So here’s the new one:
- Re-learning. You can always get to learn new things, new technologies or even new profession. You just need to be very interested and a quick learner. Having patience would be great as well I guess. 🙂 They say it’s a virtue.
- Know myself better. New environment, new circumstances and new people trigger and open up different version of yourself. I found out that personal boundaries and balance are very-very important for me. Once it get crossed and state of balance crushes, I tend to be emotional and even not to be able to make rational decisions. I really need some personal space, if there’s no space, I feel suffocated and being suppressed. Freedom is important thing for me. May be that’s I can say I learnt how to let things go. I can’t say I mastered it, but I’m much better at that.
- Another reminder of “everything starts with you”. Frida Carlo said once “Love yourself first, then life and then anyone else”, which I found very thoughtful. The way you treat yourself, the way others treat you is all in you.
- Get things done. I guess living in most populated country makes you change a lot in that way. You persevere, you find ways if you want to strive. Charles Darwin was saying something about “the strongest species survive” ha?! If something is wrong or not happening there is always a way to fix it. I know the way, I know how to make things get done. Let’s say for the last two weeks, I’ve been talking to Customer Service like literally every day. I don’t know what was. Was it some last lessons to be learned or some sign?! I don’t know, we will see 🙂 . And to point out, in all final lessons I got justice. I remember when before this I heard someone doing this, it felt so weird for me and pushy. But now I know it’s just the right thing to do if you want it to be fair.
- Consciously planning or not, I went to an amazing journey of yoga. It was such an incredible journey. I was lucky enough to have the best teacher I needed at that time and the kindest people along my way you can ever meet.
- In the last couple of months, I’ve met the shiniest person. She taught me to love, hug and laugh after all storm passed by my life. I relearn how to share a room and space with someone. Following different lifestyles and world views, we managed very pretty well.
- I didn’t learn to eat spicy food, haha 🙂 Bless Subway, Domino’s Barbecue Chicken and looots of fruits.
After each life, you get to learn, treasure yourself, people and environment more. Taking this little life as a gift and find yourself in another more adventurous life.
*Knowing or not, I subconsiusly wrote the summary of my life in Hyberabad as phases of culture shock 🙂
Hope it was helpful and may be even insightful! Have an amazing little life! 🙂