When in India..

This post almost never happened because of all the sighing over the warmth. Not the hospitality, but actual HEAT, yo!

The perfect temperatures in Bombay these past couple of days, the joy of sun on my arms, my face, the ever-so-mild burn on the back of my neck, the perspiration that starts to dot your upper lip. I missed it all.

All the snow, snowmen, snowfights and sexy winter gear cannot make me love winter. I need sun. And light. LOTS of light. Or I go Seasonal Affective Disorder on your ass. SAD. See?


Textbooks in Intercultural Communications will tell you that India, like many eastern cultures is “high context”. Essentially meaning that “many things are left unsaid, letting the culture explain. Words and word choice become very important in higher context communication, since a few words can communicate a complex message very effectively to an in-group, but less effectively outside that group”.

Bollocks, I say. Edward Hall has not done business in India in 2011 where they will sit across the table from you and volley with, ” What’s in it for us? Show me the value add.”

All that was missing was Jerry Maguire jumping up and down like a lunatic shouting, “SHOW ME THE MONEY.”

In my work avatar, I am Norwegian through and through. I cringe every time someone brags without restraint and all the chest-beating that goes with self-promotion makes me want to giggle into my cutting chai. I miss Norwegian self-derision. Stop talking, dude. Now let your work talk.


“Now we will be smearing you with a de-tanner.”

“Err…No you won’t. I’m happy with my skin colour, thanks.”

She looks at me in total bewilderment as if to say, “WHAT? YOU DON’T WANT TO BE AT LEAST MEDIUM LATTE COMPLEXION?” (Or cumbleshun works too.)

No thanks, I’ll be the Bru kaapi I’ve always been, I try to convey wordlessly.

Suddenly her face relaxes into a smile as if she has been let in on a huge joke.

“Skin will look much nicer, madam.”

“I don’t need it.”

Her large eyes are pools of pity.

“Yes,” she says, “You do, Madam. You do.”

When you meet me, don’t bother to tell me I look rather wan. I have been bleached within an inch of my life.

What can I say? Being half naked in a spa, before a complete stranger weakens your sense of certitude.



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16 responses to “When in India..

  1. Eleonora

    All I can hear is “spa”.
    I really must travel without kids some time…

  2. Mom Gone Mad

    hahaha!! YES, you must! I had the added joy of watching them trying to kick each other’s eyes out on skype (or was it sit on each other’s heads?)and NOT HAVING TO INTERVENE;-)

  3. Louuuely to have you back jaanemann!! May you put fingers to keyboard every night. Tujhse naaraz nahi zindagi, hyraan hoon main came to mind for some reason and listened to it after I read this post…..now your turn to be “hyraan”

  4. Oh how sad! How very rude and stupid of the spa-person!

  5. surabhi

    Your giggling into your cutting chai made me reach out for my fix of chai to steed myself against the bragging-chest thumping- self promoting world i live in. Its just getting worse – the ‘whats in it for us’ culture!


    But welcome to my city, bombay. And havent you seen the strange monkey caps and shawls dotting the landscape, despite the sweat on the brow? its also a kind of S.A.D.

    lovely post , by the way.

  6. nat

    Like I said before – sweat some for me too … we have 24 hrs of snow. started a couple of hrs ago, going into tomorrow. how should I go pick up the kids? bobsledding you think or toboggan into Elementary school? I think I’ll just ski there. Hope the kids are holding up fine.

  7. Chooch

    Hey, nice post, as always, and you’ve described the spa lady so perfectly!:D

  8. hahaha 😀

    “madam, if you take pearl facial, you will become beautiful”

    “okay, that means I’m ugly now?”


    I laughed so much at that.

  9. I don’t know how I landed here, but having returned from India (Bombay) just a few days ago, I could totally relate to this post.

    Which spa was this, if I may ask? 😀

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