Lets meet at 3, so see you at 4

My American lifestyle is efficient, organized, and high energy. Intersect that with the laid-back, unhurried, incredibly hospitable mindset of India and you have a great lesson in patience.

It is not that the people here are lazy. They are hardworking, observant of their surroundings, and dedicated to positive change. When something really has to be done, it happens. However, the pressure and desire to get things done quickly does not exist. Perfectly normal is it to plan to meet at a certain time and not actually have the group come together until an hour or so later.

For example:

Lunch is at 1:30, therefore food will be served anywhere between 1 and 3.

When Martin, Annie and I went to Pune last week, we aimed to leave to drive back to Jamkhed by 5pm; we ended up leaving at 8pm.

On Sunday, a group of international students and interns planned a day trip to a nearby waterfall and asked for a vehicle to pick them up at 3pm, however when we got a ‘we’ll be there in 15 minutes’ response from the drivers at 4:30, we nixed the trip. (Fortunately we were able to reschedule, Rameshwar was a breathtaking hike!)

It seems that time is not of value or importance, but the reality is that without the rigid structure of corporate and commercialized, people can just be. Rather than have a to-do list of errands overwhelm you, things are done one at a time. There is freedom to welcome a guest into one’s home for chahaa (tea) and biscuits and to stop on your way to a meeting and have a relaxed conversation with a friend. The many chai stands are almost always full of men chatting and sipping tea; some people stop for chai upwards of ten times a day. Everything goes with the flow.

The inconveniences of waiting are slowly transforming into refreshing periods of reflecting and connecting with my surroundings, and the once-frustrating last-minute changing of plans is becoming exciting spontaneity. Although I sometimes have to remind myself to be patient, I am developing a greater appreciation for the process, not simply the product, and I am enjoying the conversations that occur during these intermittent waiting periods.

And when I feel too antsy, I go for a run.

2 thoughts on “Lets meet at 3, so see you at 4

  1. Hi thanks for the update, I am not to sure how I would do with the time thing, we all know how patient I am, but it really does seem like a wonderful way to be. Glad you are enjoying some down time and time to reflect. Love you, Mom

  2. Beautifully written, Alyssa! It’s great to reflect on the lifestyle as a whole, and I have a feeling you’ll feel right at home in no time. Miss you! XOXO

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