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Tir(ing) stories

For those who follow, I have been driving since June.

I have become expert in overtaking these bloody cycle-rickshaws but I still get a shock when the car in front of me suddenly pulls out and I find myself face to face with a cow, or a zebu, quite numerous in my industrial area.

My car is my freedom. I love it. I love driving. But more than that, it was quite necessary in such a big and spread city as Delhi. Here you get space (compared to Mumbai) but the price for it is that there are not too many things at leg’s reach.

But my car has also brought its share of hassles. Firstly you need to wash it every day otherwise you don’t recognize it. For instance, I have not been washing the roof of it for some time and it looks like it is wearing a white wig. Classy… Obviously, no one washes their car themselves – for 8 euros (500 rupees), anyone can do it for you. But I haven’t taken the time to look for someone and beside I like this intimate moment with my car. Except that it usually happens that I am in a rush and well-dressed when I have to wash it…

Small other hassles are there, like when an asshole flattens your tires regularly… The first time it happened, I didn’t realize I had a flat tire. A colleague of mine had to tell me. Alright, I had realized that there was something wrong, could just not figure out what exactly. So what do you do with a punctured tire in India huh?? Since I am a girl and quite tired, I would have liked to sit and cry like if the world had collapsed.

But a colleague of mine and our watchman took care of it and changed the tire. Then I went to the petrol pump but they didn’t deal in tires. They told me about a place that seemed very far – no change I would ever find it. So I listened to my conscience and went to the petrol pump next door. And here he was, the tire walla!

I was a bit ashamed to see a twelve year old change my tire in the dark night but he did it very well! It’s okay if I am not good at everything… He could not find a puncture and put back the tire. All this for 30 rupees (less than half a euro).

The next morning, the other tire was flat. I just went back to the tire shop and he took care of it. I go back regularly since I haven’t found out who does this…

And the best part of the story is that I take things with philosophy. I think six years ago, I would have blown a fuse and made a big scandal in the neighborhood.  Now I just go to the tire walla…



To remember that everyone does not have running water on this planet...

I have not yet fully understood how water works in Delhi. For example water cuts are very frequent. In fact there is a huge problem in some areas.

In my warehouse, for example, there is a guy who comes to fill the tank twice a week.

In my house I do not know how it works exactly. There are tanks on the roof and when they are empty, someone activates a pump which gets them filled. If the person in question is not here, not pump so no water!


India,Delhi,water,running water



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.