the India effect

Before I left on this trip, after four and a half years of living in London and working for L’OrĂ©al, I had definitely begun to enjoy a certain quality of lifestyle: eating in smart restaurants, staying in five star hotels and drinking expensive cocktails in swanky bars. Now backpacking, and on a budget, it’s amazing how much my expectations have changed. These days I get excited if my guest house bathroom is tiled, if the sheets actually look clean enough to sleep on, rather than in my sleeping bag liner, and if I actually get given my own towel and a bar of soap I am over the moon!

This was brought home to me quite vividly today. Having decided to take a final stroll along the ghats before my afternoon train to Kolkata, I popped into a calm little terrace restaurant called the Lotus Lounge for lunch. I ordered a walnut and mushroom salad, intrigued by the promise of lettuce which is something that never seems to be on the menus in India Halfway through eating the salad, which was delicious, I came across a tiny translucent maggot-like bug tucked away under a piece of lettuce. I picked it up on the prong of my fork, deposited it onto the table, and continued munching away quite happily. It was only a few minutes later when I suddenly thought, maybe I should have stopped eating or complained. I shrugged and finished the salad. Clearly I have been in India far too long!

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