As I sit in my old room back in Lithuania – it looks like those 6 months in India never happened. When my plane landed in Europe it was so good to breathe fresh and chill spring breeze, the streets where silent, no litters, no crowds, no cows – everything well organized, clean and green. Just as I left months ago.
When I just arrived to Hyderabad in India on September and took my first auto rickshaw to reach my new home, I was struggling inside ‘OMG, what did I do’. During the first week I wasn’t comfortable to walk down the street, I felt naked as everyone stared at me. Actually, I think I won’t be able to get use to that. Luckily, I lived in India with my girlfriend and that made things easier for both of us. To survive this country alone would have been much harder.
I never considered to be a teacher, but I found quite challenging to try to be one at least for a few months. Especially, when the only qualification required to teach in India is your skin colour. I taught English in MNR Indo – English high school with 30-40 students in classes and it was a nightmare. Teachers used to beat children, so as I didn’t do that, they weren’t very attentive. The school itself didn’t give a fuck, what I have been teaching or how I was living, so I left.
In Niraj International School I became a basketball teacher – I never tried to teach basketball before. I love this game, so I spent really nice time there. I even used to play myself with elder students. It was hard to leave this school as I get attached to the children.
During more than two months of travelling I visited Kerala (Kochi, Kumily, Allapuza, Kovallam), Hampi, Auroville, Puduncherry, Rishikesh, Varanasi, Agra, Jodthpur, Jaisalmer, Aurangabad, Goa and Mumbai. We stayed in the budget places and travelled with sleeper class trains.
It was hard to travel in India though. Westerners are always in the centre of attention wherever they are. Staring, taking pictures, asking all those robotic questions ‘Where are you from’ sometimes annoyed me badly. A lot of people tried to trick us in order to soak more money from our pockets. Poverty is incredible in India, so it’s not a surprise that locals see us as a walking dollar sign.
Despite of that I admire all the variety you can find in India: ocean, desert, mountains, boulders, temples, caves, monuments and architecture. Every place I visited was very different and unique.
People either hate India or love it. I consider myself somewhere in the middle – it’s really worth to visit, but you have to prepare that it will be opposite to what you are used to. I saw India from two angles – as a tourist and as an expat. This gave me an opportunity to have a better view about this country. There were difficult moments when I thought that I want to go home as soon as possible and never come back. But now when everything is over I miss India and my students. I have at least 40 of them on my Facebook. It will be a strange feeling to watch them grow.