How can I help you sir?

hint1This winter, I was imagining to sit at home, watch every single trashy Turkish series and eat my mother’s stuffed vegetables thinking that nothing would prevent me doing so, but I found myself sipping Champagne in first class flying to India!

Let me make it clear again for the readers who wonder what I do for a living, how come I travel that much, what all that leisureliness and that luxury are about, whether I’m a traveler or if I am rich, and ask “what’s this girl’s life all about?”. I’m just a poor chef. Hey, c’mon now! Yes, I swear. I’m just a simple chef! Well, let’s say, I’m a special Private Chef hired privately by billionaires in anywhere in the world. Because I also work as Head Chef in private boats, called Superyachts and Megayachts, with more than 50 meters in length, the people I serve come in the same category.

hint2This was exactly the reason for my travel to India. For one month, I stayed there as the chef responsible for European cuisine for India’s 9th World’s 200th richest family. I’d rather not give you more detail, because I don’t want to spend the rest of my life cooking chicken curry in an Indian prison sentenced for violating confidentiality clause of my contract.

I’ll give you some other details on India. If you’ve never been there, I’ll give you one word to describe the stages you’ll go through from the moment you land at the airport to the first time you start wandering the streets: SHOCKING!

You are appalled at the scenes you see.

hint3They advertise India on brochures or in travel sites depicting men and women in colorful traditional dresses called Sarees, famous dance moves from Bollywood movies and of course the Ganges and Taj Mahal, the World’s 7th Wonder. These are all correct and all beautiful. Those colorful dresses are certainly not just for touristic advertisements. It is an interesting style preferred by everyone from any social status as a daily outfit, anywhere on the street.

But beyond all that, there is only one reality hitting you hard: poverty, filth and crowd! In all my life, I have never seen in anywhere in the world such poverty and filth being so common saturating the whole country. The poor neighborhoods are neck-deep in waste and in the richer neighborhoods, in order to reach wealthy households, you try to find your way through the poor people lying on the sidewalk, jumping over and not stepping on them! Oh but the rich are RICH! The Jaguars and Bentleys cruise along people thin as a rail lying on the sides of the roads. A humid, filthy and poor life viewed behind the air-conditioned, leather seated, black glass lives!

hint4The tragicomic side to it is that while we define this reality negatively, when you ask the poor man lying on the street, he lifts his head up indifferently, eyes asking what is your problem! He’s not even aware of the situation! When you ask him if he’s homeless, he says no, showing you the mattress he’s laid on the sidewalk, the old chair next to it and the censer in the corner, and tells you that he’s been living there for years and his uncle’s family is living under the street lamp by the corner. Not to make it sound like a residential advertisement, but poverty is not a social problem; it’s a way of living! In brief, everywhere you can encounter with an Oscar winning Slumdog Millionaire.

What’s going on in the life of the rich?
In houses resembling Taj Mahal, fancy parties provide squander of enough food for all the homeless people on the streets right in front of those houses and deals worth millions are closed in 5-star hotel lobbies and restaurants since the streets are too lousy to live! All accompanied by the tastes of European cuisine of course.

hint7So isn’t there any middle class? Like the ones shown in Indian TV advertisements, furnishing their homes from IKEA, following Zara’s or Mango’s sales, ordinary working class hanging around in shopping malls’ Food Courts or local bars? To tell you the truth, I bumped into some modern, young and normal Indians during my one month of stay in Mumbai and Pune in shopping malls that I threw myself into to escape from the weird poverty and crazy traffic; but compared to the hectic population of the country, they were as few as needles in an haystack. Then where are all these people?

hint8Most probably, because they were on the phone all day at the Call Center of a global company based in the far end of the world, they hardly found time to have some coffee in Starbucks for me to encounter any of them! Who knows, maybe one of them is on the other side of the line now talking to you on the phone.

How can I help you sir?