“You’re going to get sick in India”

We’re leaving for India in a week, and since I have been sharing with friends, colleagues, and family that our trip is coming up, it’s inevitable that a handful of people will insist that I will get sick during this trip. And the people who are the most insistent are the Indian people, no less, whether it’s colleagues who have either traveled to or were born in India to even my own in-laws, who last night were warning me about eating and drinking in their motherland. India is one of those places that doesn’t seem to inspire much of a “wow” reaction when I tell people I am traveling there; rather, they ask if we are visiting relatives (yes), or they ask what my purpose is there.

I’ve only gotten bad food poisoning once, and that was during my trip to Vietnam over ten years ago. I was bed-ridden for about three to four days. Without getting into too much gory detail, I just needed to be near a toilet at all times. It was especially excruciating because everyone else around me got to eat delicious food, and all I was left with was plain watery rice porridge and ginger water. The water there was not clean to drink, nor will the water in India be, but I’m still excited to go to this seemingly exotic place and be on sensory overload. To even drink a cup of chai in India right now makes me feel excited and eager to start the trip this second, to be away from my everyday reality and all the annoyances that come with working in a politics-filled start-up.

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