The only way to survive India is to have an open mind. My values and philosophical beliefs are being challenged here in India. I used to believe that “the only fish that goes with the flow is a dead one.” To me it was all about taking charge of my life and being in complete control of my future. Life was all about the power to make my own decisions and go against the current.
Being in India is a different story, though. The only way to survive India is to go with the flow. If you plan something two hours ahead, I can promise you that you can and will not be able to follow through. Minds change so quickly here. You expect something to be around the corner and when you get there it’s something else. Things pop out of the blues without you knowing and you just have to suck it up and deal with.
Things come up all the time; the metro is flooded with people and the door won’t shut, the rickshaws are all jam packed and will not pick me up, the stoplight has stopped working and it’s flashing red, I get all the way to school and class is cancelled; you know, all of that. (This explains INDIAN TIME.)
In order for humans to survive we must adjust and adapt to our surrounding. I’m slowly learning to just “do what they do” – sometimes that requires me to live with Darwin’s Theory of “survival of the fittest”. Life seems to be a race for humans. The toughest and boldest survives. I’m not the toughest or the boldest which is why people can just simply budge me in line. And I hate to think that life is race and we must be the fittest to survive – but even my way of thinking about life is slowly changing.
Here’s the flip side (and there’s always a flip side when you’re in India): Though people live in a “survival of the fittest” mentality here, they are also very open about sharing their space (personal space, I mean). I get into rickshaws with strangers I don’t even know and it is acceptable here. I share the same handle bar on the metro (if and when I can reach the bar); I follow all the people around me when I cross the rushing traffic; it doesn’t seem rude to ask people for help, the cool thing is that sometimes you don’t even have to ask for help because someone will notice that you’re completely lost and offer to help you.
“The only fish that goes with the flow is a dead one.” But not anymore. “A fish that does not go with the flow will be dead one.”