Three and a half months, 15 weeks, 104 days. Such a long time I am already in India and I don’t regret any single day.
India has arousen my interest. At the beginning, I was like a sleeping dog, lethargic and susceptible, but now I have caught fire, soaked the lifestyle and don’t want to miss any day. India divides my heart, I love it on the one hand, on the other hand, there are so many unusual things for me, even heartbreaking ones: Young children playing on the street in congested traffic. Streets which remind me daily that crossing them could already mean the end of my life. People, who sleep on the street and use a stone as a pillow. And then I go home in my warm bed. It doesn’t leave me cold, definitely not, but I am not able to save so many people – unfortunately. I can’t change this country, don’t want it either. But the social inequalities have made my heart bleeding for so many times.
In order to bear it I have to look away, thinking that these people are maybe happy in their own way, united in faith, whether in Hinduism or Islam. And that is the great side of India, that side which lets my heart even beat stronger. Tolerance is broad, all religions are impartially accepted here, in Hyderabad. People with different beliefs live together; and they are open with foreigners, as with me. But this openness often degenerates into an extreme curiosity, in amazement, when you walk down a street as a white, blonde woman. I’m different. Sometimes I feel like an alien; and I even catch myself starting to laugh because of the thousand of pairs of eyes which follow me daily.
My biggest pleasure is that I’m not alone. I can share these experiences with people from all over the world, students who also came here to widen their horizons. We laugh a lot, share our experience and, of course, we are always sad when someone has to leave our flat for going back home. We have established our own community in the great Indian society. It’s a calm anchor in all stress, a big help for everybody. However, so many advises aren’t needed anymore because I can feel that I understand society better now. I have started to experience the Indian culture beneath its surface, also through my colleagues and my work here. I am aware of social differences between men and women which have started to decrease, but still exist. According to many Indian men, the only purposes in a woman’s life are cooking, raising children and caring for her husband. Inconceivable for many Western women who target a career. But this return to traditions often lacks in Germany, in stressful day-to-day life.
Here in India, time has no meaning. The country is timeless, appointments only exist for your agenda and serenity has no limits. For three months I feel sometimes totally stressed by my hard office work, but whenever I think back, it’s still like holidays. Do I want to go back to Germany after all? I ask this to myself, actually very often. It will be strange to leave India one day. However, I have reached a point when I accept everything, both, good and bad here. Cockroaches in my drawer can’t shock me anymore as well as a freezing cold shower. My standard of living has become so low that any improvement already feels like luxury. Now I know how to appreciate little things and I will never complain again about bad stuff in Germany. It would be stupid because I have become acquainted with much worse. I was so sick that I couldn’t eat for four days and I thought it would be my end. But I’m still alive and I have found my inner peace. Thanks to India and all great people who accompany me here and I don’t want to miss anymore.
I have lost my heart on India. I would have never guessed this after my first week here, in the dirtiest apartment I have ever seen in my whole life. Of course, I miss a few things like German bread or beer, and most of my friends and family, but I thought that it would be worse, that my desire could kill me.
And now I am sitting here and wonder how it will be when I am back, because I’m not that person anymore who left Germany 15 weeks ago.