My New Love … India, Compared to My Old Home, Barcelona

My New Love … India, Compared to My Old Home, Barcelona

For the past three weeks I have been in Sitges (Barcelona), Spain, fixing my employment visa for India following my change in jobs (read about that here).  Spain has been my place of residence and home for the eight years immediately prior to my move to Bangalore five months ago. Happily though, in 72 hours I will return to fabulous Bangalore.  You see, I’m in love…and my love affair hit me fast and hard like any passionate love does and I miss my new “lover” very much…my new lover India!

But coming back to Sitges has reminded me of just how different my new life is compared to my old one.  In all fairness, some of the differences actually validate why my move to India was the best move possible for me and my daughter.  My two favourites are:

  • Spain has 21% unemployment and India has a massively booming economy that offered up three new jobs for me within days of losing my first job in Bangalore.  I have a fun MarCom job with a leading BPO company, work with a growing cricket league and am starting to write for one of the hottest men’s magazines in the world.  Thank you India!!  I had been looking for a job in Spain and trying to get back on my feet so I could support my daughter and I again for almost a year when I decided to move to India, what a change.
  • My wallet was stolen when I took the metro in Barcelona last week.  I have lived in Spain off and on for 18 years and this is the first time I have ever been pickpocketed.  In part, this is India’s fault because it’s so safe and I have now become so relaxed about my handbag and belongings so I simply – and stupidly – forgot to be “on guard” at all times in a dangerous place like Barcelona.  In India, women CAN leave their handbags unattended or on a chair when they run to the restroom at bars and restaurants or simply turn around and talk to friends behind them, knowing that their handbag will still be there when they want it.  It’s also okay to leave things in plain view in a car, no one will break in to steal anything like they would in other countries.

BARCELONA METRO STATION: Look at the efficient way that people who choose to stand on the escalator all do so by lining up on the RIGHT side, so that people who are moving faster and have decided to walk up can pass the slower people on the LEFT side. No pushing, no shoving and no mayhem here!

However, coming back to Spain has reminded me of a few things that my new lover India and I fight about, sometimes on a daily basis.  They range from little annoyances to bigger problems, which I had started to sort of forgive and not notice as much as I did when I first moved to Bangalore months ago.  My biggest Love/Hate issues with my new lover include:

  • Pushy Indians!  Whether it’s taking a 2 lane road and deciding to arbitrarily convert that into a 5 lane road or perhaps it’s bypassing an orderly queue when boarding a plane…I am not a fan of my new lover’s pushy way.  In mainland Europe, people stand on the right side of an escalator when they are riding it so people who are going faster can walk past on the left.  Also, in the U.S. and in Europe, drivers respect the lines painted on roads.  Outside India, people actually stand in lines and queue when boarding a bus or a flight without cutting and trying to push in front of the person in front.  It’s one of the hardest things for me to brush under the rug because in the bottom of my heart I believe that people know it’s rude to cut in line.
  • The damn car and auto and moto horns blowing 24/7!  In three weeks, I have maybe heard 4 or 5 horns being blown here in Spain.  That’s it.  No joke.  There is no noise pollution here like there is in Bangalore.  It’s wonderful to sit outside (street-side) on terraces and enjoy a meal or quiet’ish coffee with friends.  Or go to sleep without wearing ear plugs.  It’s lovely treat I think I will miss most of all!
  • Bangalore is dirty.  Here in Sitges, the streets are cleaned every single day with one of those machine thingies and by a team of physical street sweepers.  In other cities like Barcelona, streets aren’t cleaned by machine everyday but they are kept so clean that I have  never encountered a single bag of trash on the street or piles of muck that have accumulated over time.  This is done by coupling the commitment by the city governments to keep streets clean with the citizens’ commitment not to litter or throw away garbage anywhere except into bins, resulting in the cities staying pretty squeaky clean.

No lover is perfect.  And I wouldn’t trade my new love for any other in the world.  But I guess at one time or another everyone thinks that the grass might be greener on the other side of the fence…and I have to admit that this recent trip to Spain had my eyes wandering – but only a bit!

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Angela Carson
Angela Carson

At 21 I left uni, jumped into my Jeep Wrangler, and drove from my native California to live an adventure in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I’ve explored 35 countries on 4 continents, residing in 7 of them (currently Kuala Lumpur is my home). I even have a private pilot’s license and was shot at once by bandits!

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11 Comments

  1. ghati
    21/09/2011 / 07:46

    I am california right now…and boy-o-boy, I just cannot get over the number of injuns in the valley. I live in east coast, which by no means has less number of indians. But, in the valley it was a different dimension all together, every third couples or group was a desi. We go to dish-dash a middle eastern restuarant and all the staff was indian. indians dating every other color there it. It felt strange a bit, like I am peeping into the future to how the world might look.

    Congrats on your three jobs, I am sure they are good salary wise for bangalore. But, are they good to replace your barcelona income ?

    • 22/09/2011 / 05:17

      hahaha…hmmmm the new world order coming from California? I like that given that I am a Cali girl 🙂 And actually…when I first moved to Inida my salary was more than my Barcelona salary. Now I am slowly working back up to it again. Fortunately my 15 years of experience around the globe and across dozens of markets gives me an edge thank goodness….cuz my daughter heads off to UCLA in 2 years and I will be paying for that 100% myself!!! Thanks for reading, commenting and the kind words — angela

  2. 21/09/2011 / 12:25

    Well, India is crowded with not equivalant landspace available. This leads to fight for survival for most of the people and hence the loose their patience on all small matters.

    Also it’s due to corrupt government not enforcing the laws, monitoring the law-breakers & punishing. People are educated, but not aware of the importance of keeping their environment clean.

    Automobile habit is new in India as well. 10 years back, cars were super luxury and now it’s almost becoming common. But the educators does not teach them the road rules, driving ethics yet. It will change in another couple of years and you may be able to live in India that does not honk while driving. But am sure it ain’t gonna change for another 5 years. Many of my friends in India does not have that habit (honking all the time) since they’ve lived & driven in other countries & have learnt.

    The Indian driving institutes are a joke. When my niece took her driving license, she was told to just look ahead and drive, not to bother about what’s going on at the back or the rear. Now you know how they drive learning driving from those institutes.

    India is a country trying to find a balance between Tradition & Advancement. So it’s gonna take longer than other countries.

    Most of the roads does not have pedestrian walking or dust bin unlike the other countries. Now even in the place they have both, very less use em the way they are suppose to be used. People have less accountability. Public properties are taken for granted (still) and there is no one educating people on that.

    I hope things will change soon.

    Anyways, glad to know you’ll be back to Bangalore in 72 hours.

    Tip: when you find a new lover, do not dwell on the old lover coz it makes your new love miserable 🙂

    • 22/09/2011 / 05:11

      Wow, that was an amazing comment. Looks like you actually read the entire blog 🙂 Thanks for that. My favourite line was your tip I have to say….very very very clever close. Thanks for your kind words about my return. Cheers, Angela

  3. Abdullah K.
    21/09/2011 / 12:53

    I think you were lucky in India or perhaps Bangalore is more civilised than Delhi. In my seven years in India, I have had my wallets stolen twice, my car stolen (from a government/diplomat parking lot, no less) and on several occasions, fleeced by unsculpturous touts. Don’t get your guard down in India, this country is as unsafe as any other country.

    • 22/09/2011 / 04:58

      Oh wow, I guess I have been lucky 🙁 Sorry to hear about your experiences. Honestly I have not experienced anything similar yet but I suppose my short 5 months here in India have only offered me up good things so far… though I really hope that doesn’t change. –angela

  4. paul
    21/09/2011 / 22:48

    You need a bloke angela

    • 22/09/2011 / 00:15

      Nooooooo…. I am doing such a good job avoiding that so far. Don’t jinx it 🙂 I am very happy single, you’ll have to just trust me on that one!! –angela

  5. vb
    22/09/2011 / 23:00

    come back soon to bangalore . let us have a drink.

  6. Karthik
    15/11/2011 / 13:18

    Thats a Nice one must say New Lover – India
    Its difficult for any one not to love India, except a few….. India is a country known for its Unity in Diversity. Has so many options that opened, open currently & opening up as part of the Booming economy. Unlike west ( what i have heard from my friends, no personal experiences) India swing opens its arms to anyone coming in & bid farewell to people who move on with tears.
    I am sure that your new lover will give you mixed feelings but ensure that the sweeter ones are more & enjoy your dates with the new lover. Kudos

    Cheers

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