I was told to expect a 'Marmite country'. But for me, India isn't a love OR hate land. It's love AND hate, often in the very same experience.
It's a cherry cheesecake with oysters on top. Garlic naan with goat brain masala.
India is a chocolate and Brussels sprout sandwich.
Writer and traveller Paul Theroux talks about India as a land of confrontation - and that's been the experience for me as an India newbie. The daily surprises of India are causing whole sections of my brain to blow up. Old ideas and habits are being challenged. I'm proved wrong about most things.
I'm shown aspects of my character I'm proud of here (I can be adventurous, curious and caring). But I also display my twat side (I can be judgmental, suspicious and short-tempered).
There's always the option here - those precious seconds where I get to decide whether to take the Twat Road or the Comedy Road. More and more, I'm finding that laughter is the answer to everything here.
Laughter is the answer to a camel farting a cloud of dung gas in my face.
It's the answer to a lorry honking his earsplitting horn at me - (even when I'm nowhere near the road).
It's the answer to the attention from traders and rickshaw wallahs and beggars.
It's the answer when I find out my bed sheets and pillows have been washed in the not-very-clean river.
It's the answer when a man sits down next to me and burps. He reaches right down into his belly for a burp, gets ready, aims, then fires a burp-ball towards me with the force of a Wimbledon champion. Again and again, he aces burps IN MY FACE.
In fact, I discover, I've just advertised myself as very very available to him!
HAHAHA - that's what I say to all of it.
(Until I take the Twat Road again - probably at about seven o' clock this evening).