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Work Trip to Mumbai Next Week: This should be, um, interesting


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So... I have been asked to go on a work trip to Mumbai next week. Yay! Mumbai! Super fun. Love my job. But, uh oh, do I need to bring an extra suitcase just for my food??? That's ridiculous and I won't do it.


Yes, I will carry a pack of nuts and a pack of dried fruit. That's just emergency provisions. And it's not a long trip, so really that's enough. I could, if I had to, live on that.


The flight is short (I live in New Delhi, so this isn't a US to India kinda thing), so no worries about plane food. 


But boy, the one thing that makes this month almost impossible is the fact that while you could reasonably ask people in the US what's in a meal on their menu, here you just cannot. You can, but they'll either not understand you or they'll just lie, because the culture is to tell you what they think you want to hear. 


In South Asia, where most meals have soy of some kind in them, often of many, many kinds, that makes life difficult. And this is diplomacy, so when I show up somewhere for work, and I am offered milk tea and cookies, it's kind of rude when I decline. It's a work event, so it's inappropriate for me to discuss my diet. TMI. Too personal. And when I show up, they are going to want to feed me. It's what they do. Because they are kind.


Oh, I have all of the lines in my pocket:


I am allergic to that (but am I allergic to EVERYthing?).

I just ate, but thank you anyway (then they'll push for just a small symbolic portion, o fcourse)

I am taking a medication that will not allow me to eat that while on it (that's especially useful for booze, but in India, they don't really drink, certainly not at work, so it's more a matter of foods)


But there are SO MANY things I cannot eat that are a part of every single solitary thing they prepare, that I am really going to be in a bind. 


If it were just me, on a holiday in Mumbai, or if I were a banker or something and not having to be diplomatic and striving to form alliances and friendships, this would be less of an issue. But here we go, and it is what it is...


Wish me luck!



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I have, in fact, made exactly that choice. Unfortunately, as I live and work in India, the trips will be fairly frequent... But I'll be looking for that window of opportunity, to be sure. And if I fail to find it here, at least I can find it in the US when I go home for a summer vacation with the family. I usually stay just about a month. 

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