The past 13 days have gone by both at a snails pace and like greased lightning. I've mainly spent my time foraging around for creature comforts such as coffee, styling products, and liquid soap. These are things I previously considered essential to my survival. They are things I took for granted. Not any more.
Compared to US meal planning mentalities, the grocery store would appear to sell very mismatched items. I found pasta noodles but no tomato sauce, pancake mix but no maple syrup, coffee grounds for an automatic coffee maker but no filters, and fruit jam/jelly but no peanut butter. I've since taken a trip to a posher neighborhood and shopped at Q-Mart, who's slogan should be "Where white people shop" and found everything from sliced cheese to jarred Alfredo sauce. I had to hold myself back considering I took an auto-rickshaw to get there which has limited "trunk space" for such items.
This past weekend I also got to the mall to restock my make-up supply. I found my brand, but not the entire line, and of course it wasn't in my shade. Still I was unable to find any styling products for women. Not even leave in conditioner. The heat and humidity have me looking like Medusa and I can't find a drop of smoothing serum anywhere yet I see Indian women everywhere I look with shiny, frizz free hair. I can't say the same for the Caucasians I saw shopping at Q-Mart though so perhaps women's hair products really don't exist in India.
All of the items I once considered "basic essentials" have been replaced by what is true necessity. Namely, water and electricity. These things can no longer be taken for granted. Daily we experience power cuts, which can be grueling in 100+ F temperatures. During these dry summer months we also go for hours daily without running water. Our apartment building which consists of 5-6 units share a relatively small water tank, about the size of 5 standard US home hot water heaters, and we take turns paying to have it filled once per day. The cost to have it filled runs approx $12 USD. When the water is gone, you wait.
Let the foraging continue, and let us never take anything for granted.