What is the minimum amount of money I would need to live in India?

#16 Nov 10th, 2015, 04:38
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#16
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Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post The view from the other side: I was amazed at how friendly and helpful people were in London, when I visited, first time in 6 years (I lived there for 30), a few months ago.

India is not about living simply with less, unless forced to do so by poverty. Nor is it an escape from consumerism. Diwalli is coming up, right? The newspapers are full of full-page ads from the electrical stores. On other pages, it could be silk, gold, etc etc. Or "modern" restaurants that don't sell real food, but sell the idea of their image.

So do take a long, slightly hard, look at India before deciding to live here.

Do also realise that, just because you shift yourself a few thousand miles, does not mean that you or your life will change.

Otherwise, well, I call it home, and have done for nearly eleven years now, so it can't be all bad .
To be fair, I've only been to London a few times, and when I was quite young too, so I'm sure that there's plenty of places in the UK where I might be able to move to, where I could enjoy some benefits compared to Scotland. (I know it can be fairly sunny in some places in the south of England).

And I have always been a bit of a tech geek, so it's not like I would want to live somewhere with no electrical stores...

But by travelling, I am hoping to spend less time in front of a screen, and more time enjoying nature, and in general trying to do things which are "human", and there's research that shows things like getting enough sunlight exposure, and spending more time in natural surroundings, can do a lot to improve mental health.

Part of my thinking was that it would be easy for me to get depressed if I was stuck in an office from 9 to 5, and had barely enough free time for doing things like getting fresh air, exercising, sleeping well and taking the time to cook healthy food.

But if I was living a more "simple" or basic lifestyle, on a limited budget, my daily struggles might be doing things like hand-washing my clothes and dishes, mopping/sweeping the floor, buying ingredients (like fresh veg) and dried grains/beans/lentils, and freshly preparing the majority of my meals (as opposed to buying ready meals or eating out). So that way everything would have a "purpose", and my survival instincts would be enough to motivate me to eat, sleep and mange simple things like that.

I'm hoping an experience like that for even a few months, or ideally a year or two, would mean I could return home with a different perspective on things, and some more appreciation for the things I take for granted.

The thought about people being forced to live a basic life due to poverty, is something I've been thinking about a lot lately, as in terms of my own family, I only have to go back to my grandparents (from both sides) to find people growing up with very little. Even my Dad grew up in a village with no toilets or electricity (in the 50s).

One concern for me would be trying to avoid getting sick, with all of the pollution and unclean water and so on, but hopefully I can buy a water purifier and wash vegetables carefully and minimise the risk as much as possible.

The other main challenge would be making friends and interacting with people regularly, as humans are social animals, so wherever I go, I'll have to find places to meet people and make friends, and that would be a necessity when it comes to choosing somewhere.
#17 Nov 10th, 2015, 15:12
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#17
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Originally Posted by npo View Post To be fair, I've only been to London a few times, and when I was quite young too,
It is famous, even among its residents, for its impersonal coldness. Actually, I find the London-acquired pretend-they-are-not-even-there thing quite useful, sometimes, in India! The aggressive edge to London driving was a a good junior-school for India driving.

Quote:
And I have always been a bit of a tech geek, so it's not like I would want to live somewhere with no electrical stores...
Realistic view from a shopoholic: even a suburban local mall, in SIngapore, has better shops and more choice than the whole of my Indian city. On the other hand, when it comes to window-shopping silks, jewells, kitchen shops, etc, India is hard to beat!

Quote:
But by travelling, I am hoping to spend less time in front of a screen, and more time enjoying nature, and in general trying to do things which are "human", and there's research that shows things like getting enough sunlight exposure, and spending more time in natural surroundings, can do a lot to improve mental health.
I suspect that is very true.
Quote:
Part of my thinking was that it would be easy for me to get depressed if I was stuck in an office from 9 to 5, and had barely enough free time for doing things like getting fresh air, exercising, sleeping well and taking the time to cook healthy food.
What's good, in my, thankfully-limited, experience, is anything that doesn't give time for thinking about oneself. I guess they call it "getting out of yourself." At one time in my life, it was making jewellery as a hobby: I could concentrate for hours on the thing in front of me, instead of the thing inside me, and even the horrible broken or molten disasters were just lessons in the craft, or not to try and get ahead of my capabilities.

Even working life could do this, if it isn't just a soulless job.

Quote:
But if I was living a more "simple" or basic lifestyle, on a limited budget, my daily struggles might be doing things like hand-washing my clothes and dishes, mopping/sweeping the floor, buying ingredients (like fresh veg) and dried grains/beans/lentils, and freshly preparing the majority of my meals (as opposed to buying ready meals or eating out). So that way everything would have a "purpose", and my survival instincts would be enough to motivate me to eat, sleep and mange simple things like that.
Washing up? Whoa! it assumed that you will have a maid for an hour or so a day, in your basic-living budget!

Quote:
I'm hoping an experience like that for even a few months, or ideally a year or two, would mean I could return home with a different perspective on things, and some more appreciation for the things I take for granted.
I think it would.

Quote:
The thought about people being forced to live a basic life due to poverty, is something I've been thinking about a lot lately, as in terms of my own family, I only have to go back to my grandparents (from both sides) to find people growing up with very little. Even my Dad grew up in a village with no toilets or electricity (in the 50s).
more later... I'm late for a lunch, and my wife is rightly hassling me.
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#18 Nov 10th, 2015, 15:27
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#18
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Originally Posted by npo View Post so I'm sure that there's plenty of places in the UK where I might be able to move to, where I could enjoy some benefits compared to Scotland.
Many! (Just kidding - Scotland is great too, I love visiting, and have semi-commuted to Glasgow fo years.)

Quote:
But by travelling, I am hoping to spend less time in front of a screen, and more time enjoying nature, and in general trying to do things which are "human", and there's research that shows things like getting enough sunlight exposure, and spending more time in natural surroundings, can do a lot to improve mental health.
I think it is great that you have this vision of what will help you, and you are planning towards it. But, if you don't mind me saying this, I think at your age it is also important not to think of spending months and years without some focussed activity to exercise the brain. A job, or some further studies, or even seriously taking up a hobby - music, for example? Putting your skills to help others? And maybe that can provide the core of your sabbatical.


Quote:
Part of my thinking was that it would be easy for me to get depressed if I was stuck in an office from 9 to 5, and had barely enough free time for doing things like getting fresh air, exercising, sleeping well and taking the time to cook healthy food.
Balance is good.

Quote:
But if I was living a more "simple" or basic lifestyle, on a limited budget, my daily struggles might be doing things like hand-washing my clothes and dishes, mopping/sweeping the floor, buying ingredients (like fresh veg) and dried grains/beans/lentils, and freshly preparing the majority of my meals (as opposed to buying ready meals or eating out). So that way everything would have a "purpose", and my survival instincts would be enough to motivate me to eat, sleep and mange simple things like that.
When I was in my twenties I took up a job in Delhi to live for a year with ideas similar to yours. I found the reality of coping with these daily tasks in India much, much more difficult than I anticipated. Living in India on a limited budget is far from the romantic ideals of Walden, in my opinion. It might be easier nowadays, but I doubt it.

Quote:
I'm hoping an experience like that for even a few months, or ideally a year or two, would mean I could return home with a different perspective on things, and some more appreciation for the things I take for granted.
It's great to be willing to take risks, as long you feel comfortable about giving up after even one month, if you find it tough especially if you find the old depression returning. For all its faults, there is nothing like the NHS in India, or anywhere else in the world. Having mental health issues when alone in India wouldn't be great.

I gave up on my year in Delhi after two months, much to the annoyance of my landlady and my boss. I am sure they've forgotten all about me by now.

Quote:
The other main challenge would be making friends and interacting with people regularly, as humans are social animals, so wherever I go, I'll have to find places to meet people and make friends, and that would be a necessity when it comes to choosing somewhere.
Again, harder to do this without some focus in your life such as a course, or voluntary work, or something.
#19 Nov 10th, 2015, 15:31
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Here is my two bits:

Why don't you try working with an NGO in India? There would be plenty of young people who spend some time on internships and you would be able to experience India as well have the advantage of working with young people, some of them from overseas.
There are quite a few places which look forward to help from volunteers. They provide stay and food. I remember when Auroville was being built, there were many young people from all over the world helping. Seemed like fun.


Bangalore could be quite depressing with its crowds, traffic and all the ills of a big city. I would probably settle for a small town, where i could mix with the locals and also make myself useful.
However thats your call.
#20 Nov 10th, 2015, 15:38
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#20
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Originally Posted by npo View Post But by travelling, I am hoping to spend less time in front of a screen, and more time enjoying nature, and in general trying to do things which are "human", and there's research that shows things like getting enough sunlight exposure, and spending more time in natural surroundings, can do a lot to improve mental health.
agreed. much research on that. even just moving your body does wonders for mental health. Dance therapy, gardening therapy, it all works. I'm a yoga teacher who works with trauma survivors, people with anxiety, depression, etc. and every student has improved with some type of movement modality in their lives. it absolutely boggles my mind how people don't move and actually find excuses not to! I had to stop teaching yoga, dancing, and gardening this summer because of a broken foot and wrist -- it directly impacted my mental health!

Quote:
my daily struggles might be doing things like hand-washing my clothes and dishes, mopping/sweeping the floor, buying ingredients.... So that way everything would have a "purpose",.....
yes, there's a reason why at many yoga/meditation retreats people are required to do seva or selfless service such as gardening, working in kitchen, cleaning, etc. it's not only seva but instills a sense of purpose. I attended a silent retreat (once a year for three years) where I and a few others cut vegetables for lunch for 100 participants. sounds like a lot of work but it was very contemplative and brought me much peace to do it every morning.

Performing tasks like you describe help with practicing mindfulness....which helps with dealing with depression, anxiety, etc.

“To my mind, the idea that doing dishes is unpleasant can occur only when you aren’t doing them. Once you are standing in front of the sink with your sleeves rolled up and your hands in the warm water, it is really quite pleasant. I enjoy taking my time with each dish, being fully aware of the dish, the water, and each movement of my hands. I know that if I hurry in order to eat dessert sooner, the time of washing dishes will be unpleasant and not worth living. That would be a pity,for each minute, each second of life is a miracle. The dishes themselves and that fact that I am here washing them are miracles!” –Thich Nhat Hanh (The Miracle of Mindfulness)


Quote:
I could return home with a different perspective on things, and some more appreciation for the things I take for granted.
The first three weeks of my trip this year I spent with two women who had never been to India. When they returned to US the first email I got from them was about how the 15 days helped them look at things differently in their home life, more appreciation, not taking things for granted, etc. India does change you in that regard.

I agree with the suggestions of volunteering. I met a woman this year who is volunteering with an NGO in Cochin, Kerala where she helps to teach kids, does some kitchen work as you describe, etc. Apparently people can stay for two weeks or for months with this group.

Good luck with your plan. I've just completed 10 trips to India in 10 years and have decided to live in the south for a few months out of the year.

But you should really visit first before making the jump to live in India. You might find that India is not your cup of tea at all. I know a few people who thought they could live in India but found Thailand and Mexico easier places to handle.
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Last edited by Sama; Nov 10th, 2015 at 21:19..
#21 Nov 10th, 2015, 18:43
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#21
AS ever wisdom from one who has travelled a lot in India, not just sticks in one place.

Bangalore, tho it is a long time since I saw it, must be 10 times busier and more polluted as everyone aspires to a car.

What about Mysore? not too big.

Of course it will get hot in the summer then you could move to the N.

Kerala I found expensive compared to the N when last there 2 years ago.

Leaving the best till last, There is a huge vitality to Calcutta, and as in all India the people are lovely.
#22 Nov 10th, 2015, 21:21
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I'd live in Calcutta! love it. Chennai used to be my first choice, but no longer. the bloom is really off the rose on that one for me.
#23 Nov 10th, 2015, 21:53
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#23
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Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post more later... I'm late for a lunch, and my wife is rightly hassling me.
A littl emore wisdom from one who sticks in one place. We don't all actually like travelling extensively, and it is not compulsory

Quote:
Originally Posted by npo View Post The thought about people being forced to live a basic life due to poverty, is something I've been thinking about a lot lately, as in terms of my own family, I only have to go back to my grandparents (from both sides) to find people growing up with very little. Even my Dad grew up in a village with no toilets or electricity (in the 50s).
I wonder if there is still some sort of rural dream life available in India. I'd like to think that there is, even if I never want to live it

Quote:
One concern for me would be trying to avoid getting sick, with all of the pollution and unclean water and so on, but hopefully I can buy a water purifier and wash vegetables carefully and minimise the risk as much as possible.
It is less of a concern than you might think.

If you have your won kitchen, fridge, pans, cooker, then you are in charge of your own home conditions. It will be the same as you would have anywhere in the world. At least, after you have taught your maid to use different cloths for the floor and surfaces, etc. (yes, that's from experience: several times: ask Mrs. N. Many Indians are used to imparting these lessons).

You can eat out, at least trad veggie, for very little money indeed. You will get to know which eating places are clean. These are the sort of lessons that people learn as a tourist, but hey, if you are going to jump in the deep end... you'll have to hit your feet with the rubber running the ground, or whatever it is that this management types say.

Most health problems are digestive, and they mostly just last a day or two. it is much less hassle to cope with as a resident than it is as a tourist. You don't have to force yourself to catch a plane, or spend a train journey hovering around the toilet door. Your own bed, and your own toilet, are always right there

Quote:
The other main challenge would be making friends and interacting with people regularly, as humans are social animals, so wherever I go, I'll have to find places to meet people and make friends, and that would be a necessity when it comes to choosing somewhere.
I'm a hermit. I can actually live without a social life (even without the internet, although that would be hard now!) but I prefer not to. You need to find some sort of interest where you will meet people. For me, in Chennai, it is classical music, and the pre and post concert chat and interactions are almost as important as the music.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasika When I was in my twenties I took up a job in Delhi to live for a year with ideas similar to yours. I found the reality of coping with these daily tasks in India much, much more difficult than I anticipated. Living in India on a limited budget is far from the romantic ideals of Walden, in my opinion. It might be easier nowadays, but I doubt it.
It is easier. Or at least, I did not find the basics of shopping and living to be hard when I didi it ten years ago. I expected it to be, especially with language issues --- but I found shops in which I helped myself from the shelves, and the assistants mostly spoke English anyway.

Because my wife is there, I drag her along to situations that are likely to be no-English. It is a kind of dependency/laziness/shyness. If she was not there, I'd get through somehow, and I actually know I would. It is very, very rare to find myself completely stumped for not knowing a local language.
Quote:
It's great to be willing to take risks, as long you feel comfortable about giving up after even one month, if you find it tough especially if you find the old depression returning. For all its faults, there is nothing like the NHS in India, or anywhere else in the world. Having mental health issues when alone in India wouldn't be great.
It can be coped with. At least one can walk into any doc's clinic, almost any time, without having to persuade a receptionist that one is on the verge of death! Even if it costs a hundred or two.

Of all the specialities, good mental health care may be one the harder ones to find, but there are certainly good general doctors who are not.

Everything, in India, that does not require surgery or intensive care is inexpensive. One doesn't miss the NHS much.

I wanted to say, earlier, that I recoginse that one of the most difficult things to do, with depression, is to actually make a move and do something. Depression undermines the will to even think about doing something and npo is certainly doing that thinking here, which is, itself, very positive. If some of the responses to the ideas are not so positive, it's only trying to be helpful, please, npo, bear with that.

(Personal no-I'm-not-a-doctor postscript... I believe that there can be problems with brain chemicals, just as with any other physical aspect of the body. Physical stuff can be, sometimes needs to be, treated in physical ways. Medicines can sometimes help)
#24 Nov 12th, 2015, 07:45
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Thanks for the replies again, everyone. I read them earlier, but I decided to wait until I had more energy to work on the replies. And now that I have a cup of green tea by my side, I think I'll be alright.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post It is famous, even among its residents, for its impersonal coldness. Actually, I find the London-acquired pretend-they-are-not-even-there thing quite useful, sometimes, in India! The aggressive edge to London driving was a a good junior-school for India driving.
Thankfully, I'm not planning on living in London, as I want to be able to afford to rent a one bedroom flat with about a 30 minute commute, wherever I'm working, which I think is impossible for London. (I'm actually surprised more people don't leave London for cities in the North and Scotland where property is more affordable.)

I'm also not planning on learning to drive, as I get distracted easily, so I feel like I'd be much safer taking public transport, rather than becoming a statistic, as another car crash victim. Although admittedly, if I was that worried about those statistics, I would have to completely avoid India, so some risks are probably worth taking.

Quote:
Realistic view from a shopoholic: even a suburban local mall, in SIngapore, has better shops and more choice than the whole of my Indian city. On the other hand, when it comes to window-shopping silks, jewells, kitchen shops, etc, India is hard to beat!
My plan is to bring whichever electronics and clothes I need from home, anyway and shop online if I need anything important. So shopping would be more of a means to pass time, I guess.

Quote:
What's good, in my, thankfully-limited, experience, is anything that doesn't give time for thinking about oneself. I guess they call it "getting out of yourself." At one time in my life, it was making jewellery as a hobby: I could concentrate for hours on the thing in front of me, instead of the thing inside me, and even the horrible broken or molten disasters were just lessons in the craft, or not to try and get ahead of my capabilities.

Even working life could do this, if it isn't just a soulless job.
This is true, I was reading about that too. It's called rumination, and too much of it can be quite bad for depression, and the best way to minimise it is to keep busy and stay immersed in what you're doing.

That's actually a flaw in my plan though, as I would probably have plenty of time for rumination if I was spending a lot of time on my own while abroad. So it might be better if I tried to work or volunteer somewhere, and based my plans around that.

I'm most likely going to be working in tech support, which is something I already know I won't want to do forever. That was actually part of the reason for making alternative plans like travelling in the first place.

But I suppose anything which kept me busy, with a decent amount of human interaction mixed in, would still be pretty good for my mental health, as opposed to staying at home all day. And, I could always look for a different job once I get some experience.

Quote:
Washing up? Whoa! it assumed that you will have a maid for an hour or so a day, in your basic-living budget!
Well, hand-washing as opposed to loading my plates into the dishwasher like I can do at home, a dishwasher definitely won't be something I'd budget for...

My guess is that if I was really able to live off a small budget, there would probably be many maids who are living off much more than me.

In all seriousness though, I think doing those chores might also help me a lot, as when I'm at home, my Mum does the majority of things like cooking and laundry, and I was quite spoiled growing up, so I never really had to do many chores when I was younger (I think this is rare for kids growing up with Indian parents), which means they never became habits.

Quote:
more later... I'm late for a lunch, and my wife is rightly hassling me.
Well, thanks for prioritising replying to me!
#25 Nov 12th, 2015, 15:12
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#25
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Originally Posted by npo View Post This is true, I was reading about that too. It's called rumination, and too much of it can be quite bad for depression, and the best way to minimise it is to keep busy and stay immersed in what you're doing.
Quote:
Rumination is the compulsively focused attention on the symptoms of one's distress, and on its possible causes and consequences, as opposed to its solutions.
Yep. Don't ruminate (chew the cud)

Find things outisde of yourself that are so compelling, so demanding of attention, so involving, etc etc that you entirely forget to "[focus] attention on the symptoms of one's distress, and on its possible causes and consequences."

You look outside. Not inisde.

(Please donate generously to my ashram-building fund on the way out )

At least to begin with, an Indian street is so different from a British street, that you should have plenty to take your mind off yourself.
#26 Nov 12th, 2015, 15:16
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#26
Bring your camera or smartphone if you like taking pictures. India has tremendous opportunities for a street photographer. It's a good way to take your mind ''off'' other things as well.
#27 Dec 21st, 2015, 09:55
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I think you are trying to follow the great personalities who try to come to India for revival, If you feel so , You can always give it a try , you never knowwhat would click good for your health like many have benefited from the godly plaves and from temples of India.

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