Most of the people I talk to that have left India claim that life everywhere else is boring. I kind of start understanding this reasoning and think it would be something I would definitively miss whenever I have to leave.
India is a country full of challenges where even the most basic action can become a complex, atypical, bizarre, curious, different, eccentric, erratic, mystifying, odd, peculiar, perplexing, uncommon, weird, but also a hilarious adventure.
Of course, right in the spot you could go mad very easily, but afterwards you keep the experience as a wonderful memory. Someone told me few days back that people who are not patient become patient in India. On the other hand, people that were patient would tend to lose the patience here. Fortunately I belong to the first batch of individuals.
Having said that, this is the story of the two hour journey I spent with a couple of friends trying to reach the restaurant/bar we were going to in New Year´s Eve.
An auto driver near my house agreed that we would pay a fixed rate for taking us to Whitefield, which is a town 30-40 min drive out of Bangalore. During the way I tried a couple of times to show the driver my cell phone with the written address, to which he replied impatiently, “wait Sir”. After 1hr he finally stopped to read the address, I guess he was trying to come close to the area and take care of the details later, but he didn´t knew where the place was. We stood for like 20 minutes asking to literally dozens of people if they knew the place … no one did.
So I was standing in the sidewalk, while a bunch of people were whistling at my friends who are blonde and easily noticed in a local context. Then another rickshaw driver approached me saying “Sir, please come in, I will take you, I know where the place is…” How can´t you trust someone that speaks with such confidence? After all, you are just the stupid foreigner lost in the middle of an unknown place. So we negotiated with the first driver to pay a part of the fare, since we didn´t ended at our destiny as agreed. And we would pay another fixed rate to the second driver.
What happens next? Well the second driver didn´t knew the place either, he was just short seeing that once we jumped in his taxi he would have earned some rupees already and he would figure out how to reach the place later, which took us still another 40 minutes. Once we got there, my friends and I took a tequila shot to “celebrate” that we arrived to our destiny, because at some point we though seriously that we would spend New Year in the auto.
So far I have had some of the greatest frustrations in my life while trying to do simple things like booking a bus, getting internet at home, taking a rickshaw, buying as turkey for Christmas, etc. And certainly, I couldn´t finish the year without one of the weirdest things that had ever happened to me… it´s funny, but at the time we were driving around we hadn´t even reached the place and we were already having perhaps the funniest New Year´s Eve of our lives!
Additional note: My ex roommate pointed out another story of the same place a few months back. Once we jumped in the auto and showed the name and address to the driver… “CounterCulture Hospitality Pvt. Ltd…”, where the “Hospitality” part in India refers to bars and restaurant for fiscal purposes. So what happened? The guy took us to a Hospital… why? because the word “Hospitality” was the one the best catched his attention and without asking he drove right into the hospital he knew in that area…