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Getting back to France

About the things that strike me whenever I come home, and that I then forget...


After the first minutes of confusion (especially after a night on the plane), I breathe. I am home. No need of a house, a "home", just the sense of "belonging", of being among people like me. A feeling to be enjoyed in silence. Because as soon as I open my mouth, my illusions vanish. My experience as an expatriate visiting my country makes me someone different, with other references. Therefore I quickly feel lost in conversations. And I never stay long enough to find my place with my people.

But as long as I don’t have to open my mouth, what a relief to be in France! To no longer be a circus freak being photographed or solicited non-stop! *


Beyond these considerations, there are a few things that impressed me during my recent trip to France:


1.     No one will help you with your luggage, and  there is no ramp nowhere (hotels, metro, train etc.). Be healthy, eat fruits and vegetables and then break you back!


2.     In each train there is the bitter woman that as soon as a person answers their cellphone will show the sticker "silence" to her husband grimbling that “it is written that phones are forbidden, people are unbelievable, no education, go Darling, go tell her to switch it off."


3.     It's beautiful, it's clean, it’s quiet. The climate allows you to breathe.



France - June 2012



4.     Men are beautiful. Okay not all of them. But it is still a delight for the eyes, globally. And then police men... Ah police men... We are far from the Indian policemen who impress people just for their moustache, fat belly, pants up to the chin, and bamboo stick!


5.     Let’s talk about pharmacies. Caves of Ali Baba! Where it is good to hang around between ultra-hydrating creams (just hydrating lotions are passé), anti-blister bandages and other sweet things. And then the supermarkets. This time, I only went for an order: baking chocolate. That's all. And I left with six kilos of food, at least! Madeleines, grenadine, sausage, peppermill, wine, and still I could not take yoghurts. Temple of consumption mayby but temple above all for me who is twenty kilometers away by rickshaw by 45 degrees to find one-thousandth of those goods.


6.     Speaking of consumption, a piece of beef accompanied by a glass of red wine, and good company, in the backyard of a restaurant in Nîmes took me too heaven. Did I find it so picturesque because it is so rare now?


7.     I was asked a number of times during this stay, and countless times during the last six years, why it is difficult to live and work in India. And whenever I am in my natural environment, I can’t remember. It is already so far away! In general, twenty-four hours on the Indian soil suffice to refresh my memory. I have therefore decided to take notes from now on!


* I often wonder how "extraordinary" people live their difference. Any time I meet one of them, I ask the question. Children of migrants for example, or giants, etc.

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