So, this one time, I was travelling the Golden Triangle with first-time visitors from overseas. Prior to that, they had completed a hiking trip in the Himalayas, relished their homestay in Baldian, marvelled at the installations at the Rock Garden, even watched Ravana’s head explode on Dussehra. Overwhelmed at the multiple Indias they were experiencing for the worth of one, it was, however, the cuisine that had their complete attention. Curious and experimental, they were willing to spoon-in any and everything that their taste buds and insides could endure. Including a bowlful of that warm water and lime served post-meals…
Surprisingly, with nary a whimper, nor a growl (excuse the pun) in the aftermath of a spicy assault on an alien stomach. Even more surprisingly, two weeks into their Indian vacation and still no complaints about the heat, dust, grime and bugs; almost par for the course. How were they even doing it? Finally, it was in Jaipur, after a particularly robust gourmet marathon, that the mystery unravelled for this curious cat.
Returning from an introductory round of Indian fast food (aloo tikki, gol gappa, pao bhajji, channa bhatura, rava dosa, to merely name a few we tried that day), they felt an intense need for some digestives. Soon after, out came two large Ziplocs packed to capacity with vials, bottles and tubes, and an earnest discussion on symptoms, diagnoses and remedies ensued. While yours truly, a content paan-chewing onlooker, good-humouredly listed the contents of their Survive India Kit. Take a look:
- Three tubes of sunscreen of varying strength
- A travel size vial of sunburn cream
- A fabric deodariser called Fabreeze To Go for odours
- Potable Aqua for water purification
- Tylenol and Ibubrufen
- Three tubes of anti-bacterials for sanitizing
- Bug repellants
- Bug repellant wipes
- L-Glutamine for vitalizing the immune system
- Chinese herbal curing pills for digestion
- Agartache to rectify the Qi
- Paragard, another Chinese remedy for diarrhea
- …and if all else failed, Azithromycin!