Everyone moves at a different speed in the morning. Some personalities jump from their beds ready to take on the day while some continue to hit the snooze button. Indians, well they’re a bit of a different lot. If you’ve spent any time traveling with or in close quarters around Indians, you’ll know what I mean by saying don’t bother an Indian before 9 am.
As morning calls and the sky is illuminated, the usual clang of rustling humans begins to pervade the air. Desi companions begin to stir signaled first by their reduced snoring. Then comes a bit of tossing and moaning associated with the realization morning has arrived. And finally, once awake, one quick sentence is muttered. “Do you need tea?”
Water runs, birds chirp, dogs bark, doors slam but hardly a voice from the outside world can be heard. Inside the space where foreigners and Indians share a space, as tea is sipped while still sitting in bed, little if any spoken words are exchanged except random days when inquisitively you are asked, “Tea is good, nah?”
To a foreigner, the awkward silence feels as if something isn’t right, as if we have said or acted in a way to upset our Indian friends. Chalk that up to western guilt and our neurotic obsession with having to fill the day with endless conversation. Yet to an Indian it’s the normal routine of waking up. Conversation starts after tea is enjoyed but not before a bit of exercise. Any chores must be completed before leaving home, and that should really be done before bathing. Bathing comes after exercise (be it only a walk to buy milk for tea) which must be completed before eating which delays any conversation before breakfast…etc, etc.
When the day has officially begun for each Indian, the once silent person who barely uttered a word as you held back your thoughts becomes a lighting rod of action. But please, not before 9 am.