The best thing to do right after your move to India: Panic
Neo arrived in India during mosquito-gras – the yearly event in Bangalore when millions of scantily-clad mosquitoes get high and swarm around searching for the Jonas Brothers mosquitoes. The good news is they are so crazed that they forget their mosquito-duty to bite you, and sort of leave you alone – just remember to keep your eyes closed while walking around. (If you couldn’t tell that Neo was exaggerating, you’re not ready to move to India. Actually he wasn’t exaggerating. He was just kidding. Not.)
So it turns out that the first few weeks after your move to India are actually a great time to panic – for one, it’s not like you’re going to get much done anyway, thanks to a combination of jet lag and complete exhaustion from the 218 trips to Ikea made in the last 3 days before you left for India (“what if they don’t have Ikea candles in India?”)
Another great reason to panic early is that your friends/relatives might sympathize, because in the early honeymoon days of your return they actually give a damn about what you are going through. Neo panicked after almost a month (midway through an otherwise excellent dosa). He pinged his cousin on Gtalk with, “On days like this I wish I was on a flight back to the US”: her reply was a not very encouraging: “brb”.
Neo always thought he was invincible, but no plan survives the first contact with the enemy: Within the first 2 minutes of their introduction, Neo’s neighbor asked him (in Hindi) “paanch crore to kamaya hoga na US mein?”, i.e. “I’m sure you must have saved up at least a million dollars in the US, right” ?
All things being equal, Neo could have easily handled the nosy neighbor. But Neo didn’t anticipate having to do that in pitch darkness while being eaten alive by a group of mosquitoes (apparently back from the Jonas Brothers concert, where no refreshments were served), and while being slowly deafened by what can only be described as “death metal played with extreme religious fervor on a south Indian drum (Thavil)”.
Neo finally lost it when Mrs. Neo asked him, “I don’t mean to pry honey, but why have you been carrying around a fire extinguisher for the past half hour?” Neo had no answer. It was all over. He smiled at his neighbor (in the darkness), put the extinguisher down, rolled up his sleeves and let the mosquitoes have their way – because, yes, they do leave you alone when they are all done.
So let it out. Get it over with. Welcome to India. Don’t forget to panic.
(Coming soon: The next phase: Euphoria)