Practical Realities of Living Abroad

This post is for those of you who might be feeling that I am living a glamorous and exotic life in the sunshine, while you suffer the ignominy of daily life.  This is to reassure you that my life is not glamorous, at all.

I’ve recently realised that there’s going to have to be a sea-change in my cooking and eating habits, which were hardly outlandish to begin with.  But it’s more potatoes and rice for me, which are Rs 19 (24p) and Rs 30 (38p) respectively, and less pasta, at which the cheapest is Rs 140 (£1.75).

The reality is that without paid work one’s budget can only stretch so far, and I’ve already paid all my rent for six months, in advance, for a slightly more expensive flat than ideally I was looking for.  (But the location paid off, as it is very pleasant, being so close to the sea, and parks, and very easy to get to places and find the things I need.)  However it does mean I have to budget very carefully now.  And pomegranates, which I have inconveniently discovered a strong liking for, at Rs 90 (£1.12) each, will have to go entirely!

I do most of my laundry by hand, in a bucket in the washroom, and take my nicer clothes to the laundry where they are dry-cleaned.  I bought my own iron, and iron on my bed.  I walk to most places instead of taking a rickshaw or taxi, unless I need to get there in a certain time, or am carrying luggage.  As usual there is a quick and convenient way to do things, and the cheaper, less convenient way that takes more time.  I however do have the time – time to walk instead of taking a cab, time to look at things properly, consider and reflect.  I live in a building without 24 hour water, but this is not really a problem once you get used to it.  I have a very basic flat, with one little portable calor-gas stove ring, and I cook all my meals in one pan.  I realised that I have Rs 5000 (£62) to live on for the next three to four weeks.

I know that this is not how everyone would choose to travel, or spend their time abroad, but I wanted time.  Time to do the things I didn’t have time for in the treadmill of working, commuting and ordinary life in the UK, and the opportunity to be somewhere else, on the other side of the world, in a different time-zone, climate and culture, and seeing India.

So this is what I have chosen, but it is not the high life, only an interesting one.  And one that brings me some fresh vision or perspective, and teaches me something new, every day.


25 thoughts on “Practical Realities of Living Abroad

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  3. you remind me of ruskin bond. he was the first writer as a kid whom i adored.his teen life journey through odds just flashed across my mind as i read your blog . have you read his books esp –the young vagrants and room on the roof.

        1. I’ve been reading about Ruskin Bond and he seems like a very interesting writer! I’m glad you mentioned him to me 🙂

          1. 🙂 you will love his books i have his first edition book of the young vagrants of the year 1981 which my dad bought from darjeeling for me on my bday.

          2. It’s always great to have a book from a special time and place. Have you been to Dehra Doon where he lived?

          3. yeah — i studied there for 2 years and then got married and joined my hubby there for 3 years. we belong also to the same region. but unfortunately never ever got the opportunity to meet Mr Ruskin Bond. but perhaps will try to make it a reality soon.

          4. Wow! Yes, you should do so if you can – it would be amazing to meet a lifelong hero! Maybe you could write to him – expressing your admiration of him and his work – I’m sure any writer would love that

          5. my introvert nature prevented me all these years — but yes i think ill write to him surely 🙂

          6. Hahaha! I know just what you mean. I’ve penned so many letters myself to writers I admire, and never sent them. I start to feel like, ‘what could I possibly say to them?’ 🙂 I wrote a 2 page long letter to John Banville (whom I love), then put it aside somewhere!

          7. 🙂 exactly— i feel they have so many admirers and fans in this world that will they really believe how i feel for their writing…

          8. I bought a couple of Ruskin Bond’s books at the weekend – on your advice! They look great and I’m looking forward to reading them 🙂

          9. I’ve started reading A Handful of Nuts. It’s such beautiful writing – I love it! Thank you so much for recommending him to me – I’m so glad to have discovered Ruskin Bond!
            I’m even more touched and happy now that I reminded you of him, too 😀

          10. Thanks very much – I so enjoyed your recommendations of Ruskin Bond. I’ll look into Stumbling Into Infinity! 🙂

          11. thanks! that’s interesting, i’ll click the link 🙂
            Hope you’re well! i’m missing the Indian summer, mangoes, lychees!

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