This follows on from Part One about the gradual awareness that I’m culturally acclimatising to India.
That really shouldn’t be any sort of shock at all, as by now I’ve now spent well over two years living in this country.
But it can still be a surprise to find yourself doing things that are slightly alien to your raising.
But there are few fairly major shifts in my behaviour that really tip me off that I’m getting very used to things here. For instance:
I assume I’ll be invited to everyone’s house for dinner. And I am.
In India, you are ALWAYS eventually asked for to eat in the home of all your friends. In fact it isn’t really ‘eventually’ – once you’re a friend you will simply be eating with them at their house quite soon. It’s just a matter of time.
This is not the case in London, not at all – there you can go years and never see the insides of your close friends homes, as it’s quite possible to live a few hours from each other. So people tend to work together, drink in town together and then go home to their own places.
But it would appear I have absorbed the Indian way very deeply. I have two utterly charming new Indian friends who’ve just moved to Bangalore, and I said to them something on the lines of ‘well, when I come to your house for dinner’. This would have made perfect sense if a. they’d ever asked me to dinner and b. it wasn’t the first time we all went out together.
When I realised my mistake, and how pushy and forward that was, I covered my mouth in horror and apologised for being so forward. They came over all Indian and looked equally stricken and rushed to assure me ‘but of course, you will come, of course, the only reason we’ve not invited you so far is because we’re waiting for get some furniture. Of course you will be dining with us’.
Yes, because not having furniture is a perfectly good reason not to invite pushy foreigners to your home… But in India it’s a reason to apologise for being so slow with the invites.
Incidentally, the invite for dinner is often given with a single word – the delightfully clear, ‘Come.’ And there’s a graceful tilt of the head. Not a command, just a statement. You will eat with us, we both know this – it’s just a matter of choosing when, we would like it to be now. So, come.
And there you have a great deal of what I love about India – super polite, invited right into peoples homes right from the get go and once you’re labelled a friend there is no difference between someone they’ve known 15 years and only a few months.
That is the open heart that I adore here.
In the next post I talk about things I like less, but have still got used to…
This is Part Two of a Three part series.
Read Part One – You know you’ve acclimatised when…
Read Part Three – You’re not really Indian at all!