Aye for India: Fireflies
By the time I arrived at the office, I was beyond tired. The building seemed to be moving and time seemed to be standing still. The team was very warm and welcoming, despite my zombie-like appearance.
Working night-shifts, it would be a few days before I experienced India outside of a cubicle and hotel. The drives to and from the office provided glimpses into what life must be like in India, but judging India from these split-second impressions would be like trying to retain an ocean with a sponge. India and its diversity of culture is deep, exotic, enchanting and even heart-breaking. When I had time to explore Kochi and its surroundings, I would barely begin to scratch the surface of this unique country.
You would not believe your eyes
If ten million fireflies
Lit up the world as I fell asleep
‘Cause they’d fill the open air
And leave tear drops everywhere
You’d think me rude
But I would just stand and stare – Owl City, Fireflies
In many ways, India was unlike anything I had experienced before. Cows blocking traffic, traffic cops monitoring the roads from what looked like life-guard towers, communist signs on mopeds, and what exactly was I supposed to do with that hose by the toilet? And where was the toilet paper?
Before arriving, I had read about the taboos associated with the use of the incorrect hand for various … er … tasks. So which hand was I to use to express my dissatisfaction with the kamikaze cabbie?
While asking co-workers for restaurant recommendations, I was disappointed to hear rave reviews for a restaurant called “McDonalds”. I’m sure India’s McDonald’s is tolerable, but I did not fly all the way to India for a Big Mac.
As wonderful as the hotel was, I unfortunately did not have much opportunity to sample their Indian dishes. The local snacks offered by co-workers were amazing, and the company did invite me to an excellent buffet – during which I ensured that all the dishes were sampled at least once. Like the people I had the pleasure of interacting with during my time in India, the food was absolutely unique and beyond the standards of the western world.
I was extremely blessed that apart from a minor language barrier and issues with the company driver, I experienced very few difficulties in India, apart from leaving.
To ten million fireflies
I’m weird ’cause I hate goodbyes
I got misty eyes as they said farewell
But I know where several are
If my dreams get real bizarre
‘Cause I saved a few and I keep them in a jar – Owl City, Fireflies
In total, I was in India for about 3 weeks. In that short time, the people I worked with made me feel more welcome than I had ever felt in my 3 years in Canada. The friendships made there will forever occupy a very special place in my heart.