“Normal life”

I’ve been in Bangalore just long enough to think I know what’s up. That can be a dangerous thing, because the truth is, I don’t. It’s a bit like being a sophomore in high school or college: you know the ropes, but the most memorable and influential times are still ahead. (And you definitely don’t know as much as you think you do.)

That said, I’ve settled into a routine, albeit a flexible one. The alarm goes off at 8am, Mike actually gets up and showers, and then wakes me up afterward. I eventually also get up, with the admirable goal of leaving for the IIA by 9:30. Of course, being me, this turns into 10. But that works out nicely, because tea time is from 10-10:30! A delicious piping hot cup of milky, spiced tea costs a mere 1 rupee at the IIA cafeteria. I have to put down my name for lunch at the cafeteria anyway, so my breakfast is usually tea with a granola bar back in my office. Brandon joins me at the office sometime between 10:30 and 1, and Mike wanders over to eat lunch with us at 1.

The bulk of my work is accomplished in the afternoon, from 2 until 6 or so. Tea is served again at 3:30, and there are occasional afternoon colloquia. Some days I bail early; other days I stay until 7 because I’m on a roll. Dinner is served at the guest house at 8pm, but many nights we opt to eat something different. The food served at lunch and dinner is good… but it’s very similar, and the dishes repeat, and it can be a notch too spicy to exclusively comprise my diet. Recently, we have ventured to such foreign places as Papa John’s, McDonald’s, and Subway! (We’ve also eaten at a handful of legitimately Indian restaurants, as well as a Chinese restaurant and an Italian restaurant. When you’re eating Indian food every day for lunch, sometimes you just want pizza for dinner.)

So between that and a few more Stargate SG-1 episodes than I’d like to admit, there you have it: my “normal life” in Bangalore.

Mike and I enjoyed a low-key couple of days this weekend, not venturing much further than the nearby Forum Mall. It’s quite weird to think that tomorrow is the Fourth of July. It’ll just be Monday as usual for us. It reminds me of the summer of 2002, when I did a summer foreign exchange program to Belgium. The family I stayed with took me on vacation to the south of France over what happened to be July 4.

Anyway… we hope to learn the timing for a few planned excursions tomorrow. We’ve been here three weeks, and there are just over four to go! I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the constant din of honks, the chaotically fluid driving patterns, the utter lack of sidewalks, or the accosting smells of delicious food with one step and rancid urine the next. But it is certainly shaping up to be an interesting summer.

Just yesterday, I stumbled across this article. It is an exquisitely written reflection of the contradictions that define what I have seen of India so far. While it offers a compelling glimpse into life here, I maintain there is no better way to learn about our world than to visit many corners of it and simply live.