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10/24/2016

Too much is too much! Or maybe not...

Too much.jpegRecently, India, to me, seemed just too polluted, too noisy, too hot, too smelly, too chaotic, too complicated, too mosquito-friendy. Just too much. It was probably the effect ‘three weeks in Europe in September, with an idyllic climate, the beautiful landscapes of Scotland (without pollution, without noise, without heat, without humans; well, just without anything)’. And I had to answer the same ten questions about life in India, which somehow makes me highlight the challenges – and consecutively wonder what I am still doing there! – rather than focusing on the positives, I don't know why. So landing back in my ‘reality’ under fooggy 40 degrees was a bit rough this time.

Until the day (less than a week after I came back) where, in the toilets of Chennai airport: I had been struggling for a good five minutes with my earrings – I got my ears pierced two years ago but I am still very clumsy and I hurt myself every time I try to put an earring – when the cleaning lady offered her help. And saved my right ear from a bloodshed!

08/01/2016

So?? How is life in Gurgaon?

Well, not so easy easy to adapt to be honest... Be it only because of the climate and the wildlife.

For example from May to June it was hot. So hot even the mosquitoes did not survive here, and it was nice! At nearly fifty degrees, you are at high risk of liquefaction, at least of your brain. Even the pool water becomes too hot. One or two sandstorms to spice up everything and give a little fun to the cleaning lady, as the house is apparently completely permeable to dust. From time to time we can spot a snake looking for water, possibly in the pool, even he is hot the poor thing...

End of June – beginning of July there were ups and downs, and a little rain. Just enough for flies to hatch. Quite a nuisance these flies. Obviously, when it gets hot the AC guy comes by to check that everything works well in the office. And as everything works well, he decides to be a bit zealous and loosen some valves. Following which he creates a water damage and flees the crime scene, letting water flowing from the ceiling cheerfully. How nice was it, all of us sweat profusely in the office during the following week!

And then mid-July it began to rain a little more, almost once a week. Just enough for mosquitoes to resuscitate this time! And at the end of the month, a day or two of heavy rains destroyed a lot of infrastructure – well, they forgot to put a drainage system when they built the city so I don’t get how everybody got so surprised by the flooded roads – and left Gurgaon stranded for almost an entire night (cf below what the poor rich of my society had to go through, tough life!). And gave life back to the... ants! Yes yes! So at the moment there is a waltz of flies, mosquitoes and ants. And the temperatures are quite pleasant (minus the humidity otherwise it would be too much happiness).

Apart from all these summer, climate and entomological considerations, life isn't so bad in our big quite house. What is a little painful is that nothing is at a walkable distance. But hey, we can’t have everything!

Inde,Gurgaon,heat,summer,rains,monsoon,mosquitoes

05/09/2016

A Samurai at the Ambassador’s cocktail party

This is quite interesting to attend this type of events at the Swiss Ambassador, in honor of the visit of a big shot of a big company. An experience to have, but not necessarily to repeat (especially after you have shone like me that night)...

First of all because at least half of the people are from the company in question, which is of little interest to you since you have no short term project to reconvert in agriculture.

Then because if you thought you could make Swiss buddies there you are a fool: there are exactly six Swiss in all the assistance... And they are not the friendliest people, they have this kind of arrogance of those who have “lived” India, while you, poor wannabe... This is how one of them asked me how long I had been here. Spontaneously I replied 2 months. You would have seen the complicit looks these guys exchanged... I preferred not to pick up. Oh well, just a bit. But I didn’t really get the admiration look I expected, more the kind of look you give to crazy people!

And above all you must be careful with what you say. Don’t do like me what. For example, when his ‘Excellency’ came to shake my hand, I was obviously not well aware of the protocol:

  • Him: Hello
  • Me: Hello
  • Him: And you are?
  • Me: Emilie
  • Him: From?
  • Me (he starts to be a little indiscreet that one!): France
  • Him: No, I mean, from which company?
  • Me: Oooops

By the way the answer to this question – answer that I really like because it always makes me laugh inside –  which is “I sell for breastpumps” does not have the most beautiful effect at the Ambassador’s party. And to go even further, since people don’t understand what the hell I am talking about, I have to fake squeak my boobs to explain. You see! So finally I positioned myself as a General Manager in the high-tech medical equipment company.

You can also avoid making the following comments:

“Ah bah if the head of legal of my company was visiting India, he would not be get to a reception like that!”

Or to imitate the German Swiss accent aloud (it sounds pretty much like this: “rrrrrggrrrrrrgrrrr”).

Or “Ah you work for this company! Yes I know them well, it’s the competitor of this one! ».

Or “If we get arrested, the Ambassador will come save us!” (especially when the Ambassador in question is right behind you)

India,swiss embassy,ambassador's cocktail partyWhen you manage to say so many non-senses without drinking, it is recommended to avoid jumping on the (Indian) wine glasses that pass back and forth. Same for the chocolate cake – it is less bad to look like an ogre than a drunk (and the risk to discredit yourself completely is less), but it’s still not very classy... (I tried to play the discreet but the cake was too good!)

I think I put on quite a (Samurai) show that night!