India Hates Me


View into the old city of Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

By Adam Tait

These words are coming in the heat of passion, backed by fear for my life. Not more than a moment ago, a bee the size of a hummingbird flew in through one of the eight windows in our hotel room that does not have a screen. Both Tina and I scurried madly around the room, until I finally found an object I deemed large enough to kill the bee in a single whack. As I returned from the bathroom with a plastic pail (normally for use as a manual biday), the bee had paused on the ceiling to do an upside-down hip-hop style belly flop.

The power had just come back on, after the daily power outage, and we suspected that the bee might been drawn by the light. Tina jumped up from her spot cowering in the corner to flick off all the light switches. She exclaimed “I can’t take this anymore. I’m going outside!”, just as the bee circled the room once more. The bee landed on one of the two windows that does have a screen, and I grab the guestbook filled with names of French and British people, preparing to the trap the pest in my biday bucket. As luck would have it, the window screen was not sealed and the bee slowly waddled out. I quickly slammed the shutters behind him.

Rounding the room to close window shutters, I noticed a pigeon was peeking through. I thought to myself, “Why can’t India just leave me alone?”

Yesterday, Tina and I arrived in the desert fort town of Jodhpur in western India. Our taxi driver stopped in a busy market, turned around and said “I cannot take you any further. Rickshaw only.” Conveniently, a rickshaw driver pulled up and promptly tried to harass us into taking the rickshaw. “You must! There is no other way!” We really disliked being dropped in an overly congested and pushy area, so we tried to convince the driver to take us to an entrance to the old city that was closer to our hotel. The driver wasn’t interested in the detour, as it would clearly take another half hour or more out of his already long day, and instead offered to pay for the rickshaw. I could sense that the discussion was going no where, so we picked up our things and jumped on the rickshaw. After paying the driver 2300 rupees for his services, he double checked that I still wanted him to pay the 20 rupees for the rickshaw. This time, I looked him in the eye to ensure there was no verbal confusion.

Adam in our hotel room, before attacked by the large Bee. Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

I am appalled at every rouse that we encounter. You would think that after a month in India, I would have gotten used to the constant pain of trying to do anything, but I have not. They still surprise me every time.

For dinner, Tina and I made our way to one of the classier restaurants in town. It was hailed as being clean and served excellent pizza. I was stoked. I had been eating almost exclusively indian local fare, until recently. Either a bowl of fresh fruit and yoghurt or an oily paneer butter masala had induced a stomach that wiped me out for a day, as well as my appetite for curries. As the doorman held the door for us, the manager greeted us. We were lead by two waiters to the non-smoking section at the back with more than eight large tables, all empty. We were offered the menus, which were clean and appeared to be brand new. Both Tina and I thought out loud, “Wow! We’re in for a treat!” We ordered water, a tomato and cucumber salad, and the usual cream of tomato soup. I got my pizza and Tina picked vegetable fried rice. Our food came out quite quickly, and we were eating before we had time to wash our hands. We picked up our utensils and dove in. The food tasted quite good, but felt like one detail was a little off. We looked up from the table to catch more than four sets of eyeballs staring at us while we crunched away. I first assumed that we were surrounded by waiters because the restaurant had more than 8 staff and only two customers, but I quickly remembered that the waiter had asked me if Tina and I were married. I understand that it must be quite a sight to see an asian girl who would marry a white guy, but we are still human. Don’t we deserve a little respect? Tina and I continued to make constructive restaurant management comments throughout the rest of dinner. We both agreed that we would eat there again, simply because we had seen the alternatives.

Why can’t India just let me relax a little? It seems that I can’t walk anywhere without 80 decibel requests for money, pictures, rickshaw rides, clothes, shoes, jewelry or trinkets. This is worst in the touristy areas, but even outside, there are still many people and foreigners are spotted easily. I need to be constantly on the watch to keep us from being hit by a car, bicycle, motorcycle or cow. I check every footstep to avoid potholes, liquids, cow dung and other feet. I feel like I’m being endlessly bombarded with demands for time, and I don’t see any near end to it. In the land where the only consistent, trustworthy fact is the very inconsistency itself, you have no choice but to make the most of what you have.

Typical street corner full of cows in Jodpur, Rajasthan.

On the way home from dinner, Tina and I agreed on price with the second rickshaw driver we talked to, as the first was trying to stick us with the foreigners’ price. A short command of the english language isn’t always as big a problem as it was tonight. The driver had little clue where he was taking us, even after agreeing to the price of 30 rupees. He stopped to ask nine other drivers before finding one that had heard of our guest house. We were finally off to get some rest after a long day. About a third of the way, the driver stopped. Three men had dug a deep hole in the middle of an intersection and the driver could not continue. He informed us that he could drive around the fort in a different direction, but that would cost us another 40 rupees. I thanked him but decided to get off, and offered him ten rupees for his troubles. He would not accept my rupees arguing that his time was worth twenty. After more than a minute, I told him that either he takes it, or he gets nothing. He would not accept, so Tina and I jump around the intersection and were on our way down the dark alleyway. We quickly found another driver who left us at our door for a mere twenty rupees.

Large number of scooters and auto-rickshaws

When I first arrived in India, I enjoyed playing the games of deception and other deal brokering tactics. However, playing the same game time and time again has transformed my excitement into frustration. I would much rather trust that I am being offered the best deal, the first time, accept it and move on.

This morning, while we were lying down reading books, I looked at Tina and exclaimed “India sucks!” And we laughed. We laughed because we both realized that there was nothing we could do but accept it and laugh. But, if you’re ever looking for a list of hotels not to stay in, restaurants not to eat at or places not to visit, I will be happy to bombard you with them.

We long for the comforts of home, especially Tommy (Tina’s 3 yr old dog).

Note: So what did we think of Jodhpur? The fort was amazing (you have to get the audio tour), and the old city provided a wonderful view of pastel colored blocky buildings. However, the old city is incredibly congested, where you might just get hit by a cow/auto-rickshaw/scooter/bicycle (seriously). It is also exceptionally run-down, lined with sketchy hotel options and open sewers, uneven streets and extra cow dungs (more than in other cities). We don’t recommend staying here for more than two days, unless you check yourself into the fabulous Ajit Bhawan luxury hotel, and don’t leave.

Leave a comment?

Like this post? Subscribe for free updates. (What's this?).

Subscribe by email:

StumbledUpon Save to Digg it! Comments (5)

5 Responses (5 Comments, 0 Trackbacks ):


  1. 1

    Hi Adam & Tina

    Living in India can be a great spiritual practice, ’cause you always have to accept the ‘is-ness’ of the moment :) Now you know why India produces so many spiritual people :-p

    Anyhow, when there are downs, the ups are more enjoyable!

  2. 2

    oh man, you are getting the crash course in the rigidity of your own thinking and concepts

    stop being a tourist and just simply stay somewhere for some time

    i have been in india twelve years, am in bangalore at the moment, normally have been living in tiruvannamalai, in tamil nadu

    there is so much to learn about being a human being here, relax, enjoy, stop trying to control your life, that was an illusion anyway..

    enjoy, gregory

  3. 3

    oh dude, I can relate. Having to haggle for every single thing on every single day would drive me nuts.

    Oddly enough, there’s a conversation about getting upset over taxi fares in India in the Dalai Lama’s The Art of Happiness. If you “Search Inside The Book” for “taxi” you’ll find it on page 95.

    And all the photos look awesome. are there more elsewhere?

    take it easy guys.

  4. 4

    Haha, I have not visited this site in a while! At least India is proving to be…memorable. XD But I went to India some years ago, and I remember it just the same: congested, with constant harassment from impoverished folk for stuff, etc. etc…. It’s all much safer when you have local relatives. You don’t have to put up with nearly as much the crap foreigners do…really.

    As much as India sucks, make the best of it! Keep making laughable memories :)

  5. 5

    lol….The bee might have mistaken Tina for a flower.

Your Thoughts?

Add A Comment

We'd love to hear them! Please share:

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Trackbacks (0)

Return to Top Return to Top