I have developed a series of strange habits as a result of being in India. Some of them have been intentional, others definitely not. One of the things I find myself doing over and over, in a sort of infuriating routine, is getting stuck on things. If I had a nickel for every time I literally, physically have gotten stuck on an Indian train, auto, or bus, I would now be 14 rupees richer. I would like to claim that most of these incidents occur when I wear my cumbersome traveling backpack but, unfortunately for my reputation, I would be lying. I also get stuck on things other than modes of transportation. From the mundane, — I get my finger stuck in an outlet in my office on a quarterly basis and frequently shock myself — to the insect, — I was trapped in a bog while getting stung by a hive full of hornets in front of the entire Ranchi staff of the National Rural Health Mission, — to what can only be classified as General Hijinks and Ridiculous Situations.
I get stuck on things at work too. If people don’t respond to an email, if partners back out of their promises, if people don’t do what they say they’re going to do when they said they were going to do it, I get mad and tend to stay mad. Sometimes I feel like there are so many things that don’t go According To Plan that it’s easy to want to give up planning altogether. There are so many surfaces for me to get stuck on, so many hornets eager to sting me, that sometimes I’m tempted to never leave the house again.
But then again, if you survive jumping off a moving train and sustaining 15+ hornet stings, what harm really came to you? If you learn how to navigate your office and complete projects despite massive shortfalls in organizational efficiency, can’t you argue you learned a larger lessons than if completing the project had been a total breeze? I’m not sure I always believe that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” 100% of the time, but I do feel that I’ve learned way more from the things that have gone “wrong” for me here than the things that have gone right. I do get stuck, I get slowed down, I get demoralized – but those are feelings aren’t habitual. The way I see it, I can’t stop a hive of hornets from attacking me, but I can control how I let the incident affect me and, along the way, try and enjoy the side effects of two anti-histamine shots injected straight into the bloodstream.