India’s Desktop

My annual habit to start a new year is to try and organise my desktop. Clean it up, organise it better, and have a system so that I know exactly where each file and photo should be logically and efficiently placed. However, no system has been perfect. Grey areas appear, laziness emerges, and I end up trying to create a completely new system the next year. 

What is even more apparent is the fact that these systems only work for my brain and method of thinking. I know exactly where every file is. If I ask one of my friends to go on and find me a file, they will spend hours trying to find something I can retrieve in 15 seconds. 

In the same way, this has been my experience first stepping off the plane in Chennai, and letting the hot air grip me as I got to take a first glimpse of India. Every one of my five senses were in overdrive for the first 24 hours in the country, as we drove down to Pondicherry and got the chance to explore outside our hotel for the first time. 

For those living in India, their way of living works in such a beautiful way. The streets erupt with the sound of horns, as drivers make sure their manoeuvrings of traffic do not come as a surprise to others. The roads are only ruled by the laws of the jungle. Mopeds that VTNZ would have no issue in deeming unsafe, darting around the big trucks and buses that look over them. What continues to amaze me is, through all the chaos, our transport to and from our destinations is incredibly smooth. Even in the most dense areas, our bus gently glides through the swarm of rickshaws and mopeds, never stopping abruptly or having to swerve away from danger. Before coming to India, I could see the way of driving was messy, but it was only messy for me. Just like my desktop, it only appears messy until you begin to know and understand the system that has been created by the people who use it. 

I could go on for ages. There are so many other examples in India where I have begun to understand how someone else’s desktop works. Locals are very direct by nature. If they have a question then they will ask it, if there is a problem then they will alert someone to solve it, and if there’s a queue they’ll find the shortest route to the front. 

When we have entered temples and sacred spaces, we have been told in no uncertain terms to take our shoes off, keep our phones away, and adhere to all the practices in the same way the devotees are participating. I have received a frank ‘no’ whenever I have asked for a meal at a restaurant which is no longer being offered from the menu, and have been unapologetically asked by locals where I’m from and why I’m in India.

To them, it is quite the opposite of impolite. It is better to let something out rather than hold it in. To us, it would be seen as rude unless you had tried to keep it under the rug for five minutes, and said the issue in the nicest way possible. 

It is safe to say I am still learning about India’s desktop. It takes a while to be familiar with the intricate details and complexities of how people love their daily lives in such amazing places. It has been such a privilege to be immersed in this country, and I’m excited to see what the next five weeks have to offer.

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