Tag Archives: life in India

The best and worst things about living in New Delhi…


Before I get a heap of hate mail, please note that this post, like everything else on this site, is MY OPINION only. I have been living in Delhi for about 3 months now and thought it is a good time to share some of my reflections on what seems great and what is not so great. So, here we go:

The Bad:

  • Traffic. There is a nasty amount of traffic all about and it is way worse when it rains. I hate it. I have been to other places in India, like Chandigarh, that do not really have this problem and, man oh man, am I jealous.
  • Public urination. Now, I am not talking about areas with no facilities or options, I am talking about men just deciding to go for it against any wall at any time. Hate seeing it…and hate smelling it.
  • Middle aged entitled men. Due to my work I have to deal with many middle aged, entitled, sexist men who, in my opinion of course, are ridiculous. They irritate me beyond belief with their smugness and entitlement. Working with them is hell…it really is.
  • Most men in general. India has a long way to go in terms of gender equality so observing and dealing with men can be annoying. This country can really benefit from more women in power or more women of influence.
  • Poverty. The last time I was in India was about 10 years ago. Things have definitely improved but it is still hard to deal with seeing extreme poverty on a daily basis and not feel like crap.
  • Indian newspapers. These things can be the most depressing things in the world. Each daily paper is full of gang rapes/rapes, murders, corruption, and other nightmares. Yes, there is the regular news too but no where in the world have I seen such a high amount of awful stories.
  • No line ups. Lining up is not a thing. It can be frustrating to finally get your turn at the bank or cell phone store and people budge in front or interrupt your transaction. Argh!

The Good:

  • Delhi has it all. This major metropolis is easy to live in in various ways. You can get what you want and need if you know where to look unlike many other places in the world where things just may not exist.
  • English. Compared to other parts of the world, and India, you can get by in English most of the time.
  • Food. Any kind of food at any time is yours to have-from western fast food to ethnic foods (although you will not get beef, of course). Food is also super delicious and cheap (and possibly more hygienic standards are followed due to gov’t changes and campaigns compared to other locations). Some other places in India have more limited options but here is dining delight.
  • Ice coffee. So good!
  • Service. India has some world class service I must say. Not everywhere, of course, but in places catering to visitors it is amazing.
  • Transportation systems. Yes there is mad traffic but there is no shortage of ways to travel from planes, trains, bikes, boats, UBER, camels and horses, taxis, to autos/rickshaws and mopeds. You can always get to where you want…eventually.
  • Cost of living. Okay so rent is sky high where I live and probably high elsewhere but the cost of living for everything else has been great. I am able to work and live here, live quite well, and save money.
  • Cheap travel and weekend getaways. There are plenty of amazing places to go see for weekend getaways. All have something interesting to offer.
  • Shopping. Am not a fan of shopping but if you are…you are in luck. There are all kinds of things to buy from western products, trinkets, to clothes and jewels.

Solo birthday abroad…


My birthday has come and gone. I hit the milestone of 35 while abroad and pregnant. I thought I may feel a bit down and had a list of things I could do to keep me busy or spoil myself but it turned out alright. I slept in, had a bite to eat, chatted with some friends online, and then decided I should go do something fun. So, off I went to the market to see what India has to offer. I did not end up splurging on myself but did find a few nice gifts for others and a few special things for the baby. It was fun seeing all the products and haggling.

After that, I had worked up a nice appetite so took myself off to a fancy restaurant for some yummy food. I splurged on an appetizer and a main. By the end of the meal I was stuffed-especially since I ate the whole in-house-made bread basket. Everything was just delicious! Feeling tired afterwards, I decided to head home-where all kinds of well wishing emails, texts, and Facebook messages awaited me from afar (time zone differences!). It was nice.

As I sat in the restaurant alone-surrounded by couples, families, groups of business associates and friends, I have to say I felt very proud of myself. Here I was: a 35 year old, strong, independent, pregnant woman, with a bright and happy future ahead-who was comfortable asking for a table for one. I have wonderful friends and family but was comfortable in my own skin and confident. I have realized I really can take on anything and do anything and I need not worry. I felt empowered, strong, and confident. This feeling has stayed with me. I do not need anyone or anything. I can make it on my own.

But, all the good people and things in my life I appreciate from the bottom of my heart. I hope to move forward this year with that appreciation but also that knowledge that I will be okay and can stand on my own if need be. Life is good, life is beautiful, and I want to make the most of it. Even though I now hit the dreadful 35 (a truly serious number), I have to say life has never been more lovely. Who would have thought!? May everyone be as blessed and appreciative as I am!

Pre-monsoon weather…


I arrived in India in May. May is the hottest month of the year-and it was really hot! One day it was a scorching record breaking 47 degrees Celsius in the city. It was made worse by awful winds that made me feel like I was standing in front of a giant hair dryer. Luckily, that was only one day. Now it is mid-June and there are still hot days, of course, but there are also great rainy days that bring the temperature down-and nice cool winds that keep the air fresh. This is pre-monsoon weather, apparently, and we are in for a week of it. As someone from a cooler part of the world, I am thrilled. Of course, after the rainy spell the sun comes out and the humidity hits which is a different kind of horrible but, so far, I prefer it.

People here tell me the monsoon time is awful. Based on the pre-monsoon I do not think I will mind but we shall see. I am interested to see what it will be like. The difference between pre-monsoon and monsoon is, supposedly, that the in pre-monsoon the rain comes for an hour or two and stops. In monsoon, it is supposed to go on and on, take a break, and come back again. Winds are also supposed to be stronger and more consistent during monsoon. I see this as a plus. Monsoon time also means continuous cloud cover rather just than during the rainy spurts. Also a plus if you ask me as that should reduce humidity, no?

The news has been going on about major cities being rain ready which makes me wonder what kind of chaos I am not thinking of. Traffic chaos? Drainage chaos? Whatever it is, I am curious and looking forward to it. I just hope it does not bring about too many mosquitoes! We shall see. But, for now, I sure am enjoying this pre-monsoon weather!

Non-Invasive Prenatal Test Results…


On June 6th I wrote about doing my blood test for the NIPT test. This is the test that lets you know if your baby has a high chance of chromosomal defects and issues. The lab told me the result would be emailed in 10 days. Waiting is hard but I tried not to think of it. 10 days passed and nothing came. Another day passed as I thought maybe they meant ten days after the day following the test. I waited.

Then I grew a bit anxious and called them. They said they would call soon. They never did and the lab closed. The next day I called and they said my test result had not come in and to call the next day. I did. The next day they said they would call me back but did not so I called the following day.

I was told the doctor had the test results in her email and had not sent them. I asked for them to be forwarded to me soon as this test is quite an important one-and such waiting could make one anxious. Of course, they said! Then a short while later I got a call back. The woman on the other end told me not to worry and that the test is normal. I was happy but said I wanted to still get the full report. She asked me to send a text message to the doctor’s cell phone. I did and am still waiting but hoping normal means the risks are low.

Regardless, normal is a good sign. Am very happy with that at this point. Now, I am looking forward to hitting the pregnancy half way mark in just 4 days and decided I will make the announcement sometime this week-although I have already shared with the close family and friends.

**As of June 19 the doctor did not send me the report but said the results indicated that 99% of possible detectable abnormalities are reduced to less than 1% risk. Or at least that is what I think she meant!

Skin issues resolved!


I am so very happy. I do not have scabies after all. After writing my post a few days ago and freaking out, everything improved. Since then, I have used a heavy duty moisturizer after showering and an allergy cream in the itchier areas. By day two I improved 100%. I am so so so so glad!

The doctor did say it was one or the other (allergy or scabies) and I am glad, in my case, it was the much more tolerable issue. Not sure what I am allergic to but the next step will be to monitor myself and find out. Also if there are any flare ups I know what to do and still have some meds. I only took allergy tablets one day as I worried about their affect on the baby-even though the doctor said it would be okay at 18 weeks.

This issue really did get me feeling down. Here I am in a foreign country, alone (my husband took a quick trip to visit his family in Eastern Europe), pregnant, and feeling poorly. I literally wanted my mommy! I wondered what the hell I was doing here and why not just go home. However, as the issue resolved I felt much better. It is amazing how your mood can make you so negative. Hope this stage has passed. I definitely am feeling much more like myself.

Saket area mall visit…


Once in a while an expat just needs a slice of “America.” The best place to get it? The mall! Now, of course, malls are not just an American thing but all the familiar stores (from companies that may or may not be American) make me think of North America in general where there is sure to be a mall in almost every town. Anyway, for the benefit of anyone reading this blog who may come to Delhi and be interested, this post is my take on the local malls.

The outside of Select Citywalk Mall.

The mall I visited was in the Saket area. This area has three malls that I went to. I went to all in one day as all are actually connected to one another. The one in the “middle” and largest is called Select Citywalk. It has a heap of the usual stores you find in malls all over the world and the usual entertainment like a movie theatre and all that. The stores are expensive by local standards and prices are the same or more than you would find back home. There may be sales but I did not really see any. A few Indian retailers are in the mix as well and are more affordable. My husband bought a few t-shirts from a store called Pantaloons which had good deals.

In this mall, I just had to buy an original glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut as it has been FOREVER since the last one. It was delicious (71 rupees for one was the cost). ATMS can be found everywhere. I prefer using CitiBank ones as another one I tried would not accept my card. Citibank would not accept my husband’s card so you just have to try and find the right one for you. There are lots of food options as well in the mall.

Anyway, if you go to the Croma electronics store you can make your way into the Metropolitan mall. This mall, at least when I went, was half dead. Most of the stores have closed down and moved elsewhere (or maybe yet to open…but it looked like they went out of business or relocated elsewhere). There were quite a few liquor stores on the bottom floor which was a bit strange (but if I was not pregnant I totally would have gone in and looked for some nice pinot and some vodka for my husband!). Somewhere in this mall is the Ice Lounge which I would have loved to check out but the dead environment had me running back to Select Citywalk pretty quick. However, if someone wants to take an indoor walk in the air conditioning on a 45 degree day, this may be a good place to get in those steps! No one will bother you 🙂

The last mall, also attached, is the DLF mall. Not sure the usual route to get there but I had to go out a door on the second floor of the Citywalk mall and there was sort of a balcony that went around the building that led to a door that was the entrance of this mall. As usual in India, there is security and a bag check that you must go through. This mall is a bit smaller but also pretty good. Again, it has all the usual stuff and a movie theatre as well. I went to the food court at this one and you have to buy a points card if you want to purchase any food. I am not sure the point of this but it seems many malls do this. The annoying thing is that some of the restaurants do not take the card so it is likely you bought the card for no reason. I think it is refundable though.

Inside DLF mall.

Anyway, the food court was packed here and the cleaners cannot keep up with keeping the tables clean so it is a bit annoying to have to find a place to sit. Even if you manage to find a clean place it seems there are receipts and salt packages and other refuse all over the ground as the cleaners do not have time to sweep up and people are careless. In India you are not expected to pick up after yourself at such places so there is always a giant mess everywhere.

Anyway, summer is a great time to go to a mall in Delhi to beat the heat. It can be crowded as others have the same idea and there seems to be live shows for children on weekends. There is great people watching though. You see all kinds of people and it is easy to catch an afternoon movie on any day. My husband and I watched the super cheesy Baywatch. As bad a movie as it was, it was fun…though Zac Efron looks like he has aged a few decades! Movies, by the way, start with the national anthem and have an intermission break…but the a/c works great 🙂

Skin issues fiasco…


Yesterday I was miserable. For the last week or so I have been fighting a rash. I assumed it was a heat rash and knew what steps to take to rid of it. It went away for the most part. However, I was left with dry and itchy skin. It was getting better, I thought, so I left it be. However, at night it seemed to get worse and I had trouble sleeping well. Finally, I had enough and went to the doctor. Here in India, you have to go to the right doctor-not just any doctor-and for skin issues that is a dermatologist. I did some Googling. Websites were full of botox and cosmetic issues but not so much about rashes and skin issues so I called one seemingly reputable doctor and the reception confirmed the clinic also dealt with medical issues.

So, later that day, off I went. I got to the clinic, filled out the new patient form, and soon was in with the doctor-and another lady. I realize now that all doctors seem to have an assistant or something that does the writing while the doctor thinks and talks aloud. Odd but whatever works and keeps more people employed I guess. So, the doctor asks what he can help with. I explain I am from abroad and have been here about a month. A week or two ago I got what I thought was a heat rash. I got this under control but itchiness, dryness, and annoyingness remain-especially at night.

‘Scratch yourself a couple of times and call me in the morning.’

He looked at my arms and legs and between my fingers at the rash (which was only on my arms and feet for the most part-the rest was just dry). Asked if it was on my face or neck (no). He looked at my stomach (where at the time there was nothing going on although if I scratched there I would get all red) and I told him quickly I was pregnant to explain my weird stomach! Ha ha ha. He asked if anyone else in the family has skin issues. Not really. He asked if I am out in the sun often. I said not often but yes sometimes.

He then said there were two possibilities. One could be that it was an allergy. The second was scabies. WTF! He said we would treat both and be able to eliminate issues as it could be issues related to pregnancy as well but it was unlikely. So we would start with treatment and, if needed, go to step two. So, here is what he told me to do:

  1. Use a special heavy duty lotion once a day right after bathing to deal with dryness.
  2. Use a special lotion as needed and as often as I like to deal with itching throughout the day as it comes up-some instant relief.
  3. Consume an allergy tablet once each night for ten nights.
  4. Apply a medical cream on the affected areas once or twice a day for one week and then once a day for the next week.
  5. Take a bath and apply one special medical cream all over from the neck below-not missing a spot-and leave on for 12 hours (best overnight) and then in the morning wash it off. After that make sure to sleep in fresh and clean sheets and wear decontaminated clothes
  6. Decontaminate clothing and sheets by washing in super hot water and drying in dryer for at least half hour or in the sun for as long as possible.

Other dry skin causes…they should add a whole section on hot climates!

I felt a bit distressed by the idea of scabies but he said it can happen anywhere in the world and is just bad luck. Likely it is caused by the bed sheets or a towel. He said he suspects scabies because my symptoms started about 4 weeks after arriving and that is common with first time exposure. However, it could also be the allergy, he said. I found a pharmacy and bought everything I needed. I was a bit worried about the allergy tablets but the pharmacist confirmed they are okay for pregnancy but he gave me a lower dose to ease my fears.

I had to go back to work for a bit but when I got home I decided I was going to channel my misery into action. I did some mad Googling and made a plan. I talked to my flat manager and explained the issue. He said from now on my bedsheets and towels will be washed separately and soaked in extra hot water after the wash (the washer here washes only in cold water) and they would add some dettol antiseptic, hang in the sun to dry, iron, and then provide to me. I said we could do this tomorrow as I needed to prepare clean clothes as well.

General tips!

I then went back to the flat. I wanted to do a test to see if scabies is what I have (I have strong doubts about this for some reason) so decided I would shower, apply the heavy duty moisturizer, the medical cream on the affected areas, and take the allergy tablets and see how I was in the morning. However, since my clothes could be an issue I decided I would do my best to decontaminate them. More research said ironing could do it. So, I found the iron, put on American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson on Netflix (I started it back home but lost interest), and pulled out my clothes from my closet. Anything I wore recently I threw into the laundry hamper. Mites only live away from the host for 2-5 days so the clothes I had not worn recently-or ever-were going to the first for decontamination. I disinfected my empty closet just in case as well.

Then I began ironing. I ironed the hell out of everything. I then took those clothes to the spare bedroom and put them in a drawer. I will not touch them until 5 days have passed. By then they should be decontaminated naturally if not by the iron. The rest of the clothes I decided I would wash tomorrow and hang in the sun to dry. Then I would iron them as well and see what happens. If there is still an issue I may actually have these scabies. If not, then it was an allergy and at least I know what to do next.

Ha ha… good to try to keep a sense of humour… I sure could not yesterday!

I then ironed the hell out of the pjs and underwear I planned to wear that night. I took a shower-scrubbed myself clean with a nice new Nivea shower wash I bought while at the pharmacy-and then applied the heavy duty moisturizer. I hate using creams but after a pat dry, I went for it. I put it absolutely everywhere I could reach and had to rub it in as it was that kind of lotion.

I let it be for a bit and after some time took the medical cream that I was to apply on affected areas and put it on the main areas where there had developed some bumps and redness. I had to rub that one in pretty good as well. I let it be for a bit and then got dressed in my ironed pjs. I was a bit worried but all seemed okay and the ironed clothes felt good. Perhaps lack of ironing was also causing issues? Who knows.

At dinner that night I took one allergy tablet. I had taken all the cushions on my couch and thrown them in a closet. I will not touch them for a week or so just in case they also need decontaminating. I wiped down the faux leather couches with antibacterial wet-wipes and decided to hang out there for the evening as I dreaded my bed a bit-despite the fresh sheets on it from the morning-and because scabies do not usually go for couches.

Ha ha…I think I found one that will work for me too!

It got later, the OJ case wrapped up (poor Marcia!), and it was time for bed. I was worried but got in and soon fell asleep. I slept all night and slept in late. No itchiness and no waking up overnight from itchiness. I woke up well rested after a week of not feeling great. I was thrilled! Perhaps it is just an allergy and not scabies at all!

I am now going to continue this treatment for a bit and if all is well, then great. If not, I will try the scabies treatment (the leave on for 12 hours one!). The doctor said to follow up if things get worse. I am really hoping I will be cured. However, if there is an allergy issue I need to figure out what the cause is. I also think ironing clothing helps a lot and will be sure to do this from now on. Maybe the soap is too harsh in the washer as well so will try to use less of that. Not sure if these are the right steps or not but we will see. Half could even be a placebo effect…but whatever works, I say!

This experience has made me realize what a pain it is to have skin issues. Skin is one’s largest organ and is very important. I will never take for granted again having issue-free skin and will do a better job in taking care of mine. Being unwell or having issues away from home also sucks. Yesterday I was going to the dark side but glad things have turned around for today!