Monday, May 28, 2012
A lot of the stuff mentioned on this blog has been about my positive experiences here in Bangalore. But I know when we were trying to decide whether an Indian adventure was the right choice for us, I tried to find information on all of the "deal-breakers" as well, so I wouldn't be surprised by something I just couldn't handle. So, in the spirit of full disclosure, I thought I'd try to sum up some of the not-so-exciting things we had to get used to (or at least try). Like Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart, these issues seem small on the surface, but might drive you mad in the long run! I'm calling these posts "Be Sure You Can Handle" and adding a separate tag (BSYCH).

I've indirectly mentioned this point here, but since I'm not a touchy-feely person anyway, this is something that can really get to me. (I'd like to note that I believe the story told here is NOT normal. This was just your average stalker, not the norm here in India.)

I've fully embraced online Christmas shopping, and when I was in Tulsa, I actually started ordering my groceries online as well (FYI for those in Tulsa, Reasor's has an online system you can shop from. For $5, you can have the staff pull your order from the shelves. All you have to do is pull up to the front of the store and they bring it out. Great deal if you have two kiddos with you who AREN'T interested in shopping. But I digress.)

My reasoning? I really don't like crowds. I hate that feeling of always being in someone's path no matter which way you move, and I especially dislike being jostled by complete strangers. It's no fun when you're only 5 feet 2 inches and the average height of everyone else's elbows.

Unfortunately, I've noticed the great majority of people here in Bangalore are not bothered by this at all. In fact, they seem to relish the smell of other's body odor. For example, it is common practice for the elevator (lift) doors to open, and instead of moving aside to allow the lift to empty before stepping inside, the waiters - those waiting to board the elevator - prefer to jam onto the lift first, and then force the people who want off to wiggle their way to the door through twice as many people.

Another favorite "sardines in a can" situation is any line at a retail store. Unless the store has a sign posted asking people to form a "Q" or "queue", everyone assumes you should huddle around the counter and wave your items under the clerk's nose until you have irritated him/her enough that they will check you out. Most retail stores are wise to this and have formed physical barriers that force the crowd into lines. Unfortunately, they do not form an exit area after you've paid. Can you guess what happens? You spend the entire time in line shuffling back and forth to allow the people "ahead" of you in line to exit the line after they've paid, effectively ruining the orderly line.

I've had to start making my boys hold my hands if I'm in public, and stepping onto the escalator at the Forum Mall is more difficult than it should be, because people don't notice/respect the fact that we prefer to ride together. They simply shove in between us, and the boys aren't quite big enough to prevent it. And when they reach the top/bottom, it's standard practice to stand directly in front of the escalator while deciding which direction to walk.

Very strange, and for me, very annoying.


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