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The Indian city

The other day I went back from work walking, to ease off my bad mood…

Great idea.

Thankfully no one asked me that day “hey, what is an Indian city like”?

I would have answered:

Well, an Indian city? It’s ugly. It’s even very very very ugly.

If by chance you see a nice looking building, take a good look because after one or two monsoons, it will be as ugly as the others. Why painting??

If only it was just ugly…

No it is also extremely difficult to walk. When you look at the pavements, you feel like you are in Sarajevo during war time. But even then, you are lucky there are pavements because most lanes don’t have. I have stopped judging Indians for never walking; it might not be only laziness after all… ;)

The height of it, it’s the noise. It is plain hell. Honking that make you deaf for sometime, drillers, engines, you just don’t see the end of it.

And it also smells. It smells so much that when you walk by a fruit stall, you feel like in heaven. For instance, on my way home, it smelled of the sea (which somehow regularly smells of a dead rat, god knows why), and then the river which seems the most convenient place to throw garbage (you cry when your rickshaw is stuck by this river waiting for a line to clear), and petrol. It smells, it smells, it smells.

This walk home finished me off.


No need to tell me, like my Hindi teacher did, that no one is asking me to stay. Here I am and here I stay. I am just not staying for the Indian cities. For what then? I’m thinking, I’m thinking.

And if someone can show me that actually Indian cities are not so bad, I’m waiting! I still remember going for a walk in Raipur. Plainly depressing…


Comments from an Indian traveller...

I recently met an Indian doctor who had traveled to Europe…

He had to shorten his stay in Paris and Dublin because it was to unbearable!!


His most traumatizing experience? A woman skeeping the queue!! (Kind of ironic coming from an Indian…)


Like everyone, he told me that “French people are horrible because they know English and they refuse to speak”. I took the time to explain that “know English” is a bit too much. Learning a language at school for a couple of yours is not enough to feel comfortable answering when someone asks you a question out-of-the-blue in English. He seemed astonished that we don’t speak with our family or friends or anything…He looked so dumb at that point that I even had some fun, adding that maybe people could not understand his accent. And it has not even occurred to him that he had a funny one!! (I remember my first days in India when I could not make out whether people were speaking to me in English or any other language).


If he had gone on his travel agent website, he would have read: “Take some time to learn some of the local language - even just a few sentences from a phrase book will show that you've made some effort. Most people are normally friendly and welcoming as long as they're given the right signals.”


Instead, the only advice he remembers from them is: “German younsters are fond of bikes. But don’t sit or even touch them.”

How weird!!


Ordeal number X: putting up a painting

(Sweet revenge on my landlady who keeps bugging me)


1. Take a nail, a hammer and make a start on the wall. Oups, the wall is in concrete, I just made an ugly little splinter.  

2. Ok, I’m gonna find someone to do it for me. But how?? Where??

3. Oh, how convenient, downstairs there is a guy who makes frames. He must know… Yay ! His neighbor key maker / plumber can come home and do it.

4. He put his dirty fingers on my white wall and he pierced…

5. Hum, why does he take his matchbox out?

6. Hum, why does he put matches in the hole he just pierced?

Well, just because I have met the Indian MacGyver !! He puts in the hole a lot of matches, knock a screw into it, and start screwing. It’s eco-friendly: no need of plastic rawplug!!


And now, I have a thought for the Indian guy who land in Paris and wants to put up his painting. Who is going to tell him that he need to go and buy nails from the do-it-yourself megastore, borrow a drill from his neighbour, be strong, pierce the wall and try avoiding hurting himself? Who is gonna tell him huh??