For someone who is impatient and is very much a Type A personality, getting things done, organized, and efficient in all that I do, my patience is perpetually being tested living in Mumbai. I can’t say it is one thing in specific that is testing my patience; it is everything and everyone, including family members, that appear to act in strangely demanding ways when you are trying to adjust to life in India.
Living in Mumbai, one has to develop a certain level of tolerance and patience, especially when relocating from a country like the USA, where more often than not, I did not need to even value the virtue of “patience”. There wasn’t a need for it as much and, over time, I lost touch with its importance. Sounds nuts? It doesn’t to me.
For instance, going to a local bank in San Francisco was a pleasurable experience and will probably still be 10 years from now: the queues are significantly short, the bank tellers are knowledgeable and efficient, and you actually get the job done in a matter of minutes. You go to a local bank in Mumbai, (and even though I am a member of an International bank I still have my old account at a local bank), and it’s a completely different story. In fact, it’s so different, it’s like day and night. Granted, this is a comparison of apples with oranges. At the same time, it also highlights how even the tiniest things, such as a visit to the bank, can require a lot of time and patience. Growing up, I often heard my grandmother tell me in all seriousness, “I have bank work to do in the morning,” and I would think she was exaggerating in implying that she needed all morning to get to the bank, go about her business, and return. Now, I know what she means.
I will admit that I am using this “living in Mumbai” business as a great opportunity to develop virtues such as patience and forbearance; to let my heart bleed a little more than I usually do, and not feel that I do not have the time or the wherewithal to go through the process of adapting to a unique lifestyle and culture. I say “unique” because there are so many values and ideals that are endemic to the Indian culture, and I am not always understanding and accepting of them. But that’s a post for another day.
Perhaps these lessons in patience is preparing me for something, is laying the foundation for something bigger and better. Or perhaps, this is yet another one of the spiritual teachings that Mother India is imparting to me, allowing me to unfold as a more wholesome human being. You never know!