OK, so I know that this isn’t directly related to living in South Korea but I figured it deserved a post given that it was my first trip to India in 7 years and it was my first international trip from here, primarily to go to my friend’s wedding in Mumbai, but also to see some family in Bangalore and spend a quick 24 hours with Raj’s mother and grandmother in Baroda.
I guess the first thing worth mentioning about this trip is booking the flight. I was armed with my trusty (UK) credit card and found some great deals online – price wise, the travel time was always 10 hours plus, with a stop over in Hong Kong. But when it came to payment, I couldn’t find anywhere to hand over my card details and get that ticket. So, as happens every time we get stuck, Raj took all the details into the office to get someone to help.
Turns out, when you want to book a flight, you actually just reserve the ticket for 2-3 days, during which time a bank account is opened in your name. The bank details are sent to you via text or email and then you go to the bank (or ATM) and make the transfer to the details you were sent. The seller then collects the money from that account and confirms your ticket. Alternatively, you can reserve your ticket and then make a trip to the airport to pay by credit card. Bizarre, but we got there in the end!
The main thing that hit me in all the cities I visited is that the India of my childhood is long gone. There was a time that I had ‘India clothes’ and all I wanted was my familiar foods from London. Now, anything goes clothes-wise (in fact, I think they might be more risque in Bombay than in London) and at a time when all I want is yummy Iyengar food, there is no end to the variety of food that I can find.
I came across a New Look in Baroda and spending time with my friends in Mumbai (first time in India without family) was an eye-opener and I finally understood why people like going there so much. Bangalore was the biggest shock. My trips there used to involve a day of pampering at the Salon (that definitely still happens), a trip to the bookstore (hello wifi and kindle) and then I alternated between trailing behind my mum and staying at home and reading. Now there is an endless supply of activities and places to go and several times, I felt like I could be anywhere in the world. Although I find myself nostalgic for the India of my past, I do kinda like the fact that it’s now somewhere I can see myself going on holiday out of choice 🙂
Some more pictures from the trip can be found on my instagram @ishwarya