....Below are simple yet useful suggestions... stated in random order. Come to India! It's chaotic charm, stuffed into a beautiful Bengali egg roll, washed down by a creamy fragrant chai... oh yeah, and finished off with a soft round Rasgulla. (Can you tell I just came back from Bengal?)
1. Surrender. Don't struggle with reality. Enjoy it, you asked for it.
2. Realize you will get ripped off. Try to bargain and then move on to the next vendor. Be happy to spend the money. If not, don't bother.
3. Don't wear flip flops. It is dirty here.
4. Carry napkins. Take as many as you can from restaurants. You'll be grateful to have them, trust me.
5. Break large bills every chance you get.
6. Paint your nails a dark colour. It will stop you from biting them, if you're so inclined, AND you won't have to witness how dirty they really are.
7. Learn the head bob and use it confidently. Always.
8. Always pack a bed sheet.
9. Always pack a towel.
10. Drink chai from tea stalls. It's the best tea you'll drink in India, guaranteed.
11. Count your change. Mental maths comes in handy BIG TIME.
12. Give beggars food instead of coins, if you can.
13. Ask for directions to your designated destination at least twice. Seriously. AT LEAST twice.
14. Be Patient. Rid yourself of any narcissistic inclinations. You're not the only one waiting in a queue, that needs to catch a train/bus/rickshaw/tram/flight/cab, that needs her change back, that wants a tea. This is INDIA time, lady! Refer back to tip number 1.
15. As a lady, you will be stared at, and you will be touched. Don't use niceties you were brought up with, leave those at home. If (or should I say when) you get fondled: punch hit and yell. Seriously. And when you get stared at, well, you know what? Enjoy it (on the inside).When you go back to NA you won't get the same attention. So- you know... when in Rome....
16. Get ready to have your heart swept away, broken, mended and melted. Maybe every day.
17. Now here's the tricky part. NEVER expect the worst. EXPECT the best and HOPE for the best. Because that's exactly what you'll get.
Love, from yours truly,