Baloo from the Jungle Book could not have said it any better: “The bare necessities of life will come to you…” Here in India, that’s exactly how it works. Whatever you need, it comes right to your doorstep. Vendors for milk, bread, eggs, fruits, and vegetables come to your door daily (some in the morning, some in the evening), so the kitchen is always stocked with whatever you need. You pick what you want every day, and at the end of the month, you get a bill for all your purchases.
And the luxuries available don’t just end there. Medicine, toiletries, movies, food… you name it, the local stores will deliver just about anything to your doorstep – rain or shine! The picture above shows how milk is brought to your house. The large tin cans flanking either side of the bike are filled with fresh milk, which is distributed among the building residents every day. The milkman parks right below my window, so I snuck a picture!
The same system works for laundry and ironing. Every morning, a man comes to the building to collect clothing that needs to be washed or pressed. And in the evening, he returns with everything packaged neatly in a cloth bundle. It’s really a cool system that I’ve become slightly enamored with. Everyone here takes it for granted because they’ve grown up with it and think it’s normal. But for me, it’s not. So every time someone does a service for me, I smile and say “Thank you!” And those two words alone get the weirdest reactions from everyone!
The vendors look confused because no one ever says that to them; the neighbors look shocked because I’m engaging in conversation with “the labor class,” and my aunt and uncle keep telling me it’s not necessary to say anything. But I can’t help it!! My “thank you’s” have become another dead giveaway that I’m a foreigner, but I’m okay with it. When I leave, everyone will remember me as the smiling American girl who always said thanks… not a bad reputation to have if you ask me!