I have 2 hours before I land. I don’t know how am going to pull an all nighter. It’s not my thing… Never was. I love mornings… Early mornings. When am all rested and ready to face another day with hope. Hope… How sad is a human being without hope.
I am coming back home from the longest break I have ever taken. Instead of feeling “Damn, the holiday is over”, am pumped up for tomorrow or rather day after. Back to work… Back to the gym… Back to the grind. The holiday has made me appreciate my life more. I have been thinking about how we are not patriotic anymore. I don’t believe in boundaries of any kind- physical, mental, spiritual. Who are humans to divide this planet into pieces among themselves? Who gave them the right? Or rather, who gave us the right? Who is anyone to stop me from where I want to go because of visa, security, rules, regulations? But the boundaries exist. And there is nothing I can do about it. So anyway, it has become a thing to crib about the country we live in. Sure, it’s screwed up. But we screwed it up. I crib and rant because I have hope… Hope that my land has potential and it will change for the better. This holiday has made me appreciate little things…. Things like
- Being able to walk into a coffee shop or restaurant to use the loo without buying anything. Trust me, it is a big convenience
- Being able to spend hours in a coffee shop using the wifi for free
- Having access to public loos for free or minimal charge
- Being able to buy a ticket on the bus instead of running around trying to find the tickets vendor
- Not coming across psycho homeless people who use innovative ways to beg
- Being able to use a cab without getting ripped
- Having access to a great public transport which also has AC and does not burn a hole in my pocket. Buses and metro in Italy do not have AC. Sad.
- Being able to get directions anywhere in the country
- Coming across signages with directions in atleast 2 languages, if not three
- Not having to worry if what am buying is available for less in another shop thanks to the concept of MRP – Maximum Retail Price. Example, I bought M&Ms in Delhi duty free for Rs 800… Found it for 4.5 Euros in a cafe… For 3.5 Euros in a supermarket and for 7 Euros at Venice airport. Looking for the cheapest price constantly is exhausting.
- Not having to follow stupid rules like buying a train ticket, remembering to validate it on a machine and then getting it checked by the TC on the train. How dumb is that!!!!
- Having more than 15 mins to board and get off a train. In Italy, the trains arrive 15 mins before the scheduled departure and then it’s a scramble to get on or off
- I can get out of any hassle due to jugaad
- Being able to eat a different b’fast everyday of the year and still not run out of things to try only from Indian cuisine
- Not having to pay to charge my phone at the airport. We had a stopover at Istanbul and I came across a machine which charges your phone if you insert money. Major WTF!!!
- Having great monuments in my backyard. It is absolute foolishness if you haven’t been to Red Fort, Taj Mahal, Humayun’s tomb but will travel across the world to see some fuck all TV tower (Eiffel tower)
- I can buy pair a great pair of footwear for 400 bucks and make it last years. I don’t need to spend 100 Euros for it.
- Walking down any street and having access to every cuisine imaginable – Italian, pizzas, cafes, French bakery, Chinese, fusion, b’fast options, Marathi, Punjabi, Hyderabadi, Japanese, Mughlai, Bengali, South Indian, Parsi… I have more options than I know what to do with. Food in India is anything but boring. And the greatest meal of my life can come for less than 500 bucks per head.
- I have access to awesome service be it restaurants, government offices, telecom operator, cable guy, Internet provider, Samsung/LG appliances guys, plumber/electrician, building guard etc. Outside of this country nobody cares. I had ordered a risotto in a cafe in Florence. It came with eggplant and I couldn’t eat it. Nobody bothered or even asked why I wasted the whole dish. That wouldn’t happen in India. Even the smallest cafe would have replaced the dish or not charged me. Yep- we crib about the service levels but they are so much better here.
- Being able to drive down huge roads. The roads inside the cities of Italy are tiny. Having parking space for my car. In all residential areas, both sides of the streets are lined with cars because no parking space
- Being served water for free in restaurants. A big deal for me. I hate going to places like TGIF which don’t serve water unless you ask for it
- Having lots and lots of options on TV. A person who does not buy cable separately only gets Italian channels.
- Access to monuments for minimal charges. I don’t have to pay atleast 100 Euros (Rs 700) for entry to every damn place.
I am feeling pretty happy about where I live. I wouldn’t change it for anything in this world. Not in the forseeable future anyway.