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About Hygiene  


A Swiss woman settles in India – 7


It’s two months now I’m here in India and it’s two weeks I have been sick. There’s not much to do when you feel weak but sleeping, eating healthy, and thinking about your life. I tend to get into a low state of mental positivity when I can’t work. But I know, as soon as my body decides to get well again, I’m going to be back on track.

I guess, we foreigners are pretty weak when it comes to Indian germs. I suffer from I don’t know what. I had to go to the doctor, to the Gynecologist to be precise, to get checked, if there’s a source of my sickness to find. That experience was something for me. See, Swiss hospitals are the peak of hygiene. There is no place to find, which is cleaner and more sanitised to the top as a Swiss hospital. In general, you have to take appointments at least one week in advance but once you get there, you won’t wait more than thirty minutes to see the doctor. I waited three hours to see mine over here – again patience can be learned – and then I could enter the second waiting room. Unthinkable in Switzerland, that you could listen to another patient’s appointment in the same room. That is kept very private. It doesn’t bother me, as I’m not feeling ashamed easily and I don’t carry taboos about my being. We are all humans, having the same issues. I just tend to speak about them, while others don’t.

Anyway, the thing about the hygiene. I was sitting there and observing the room condition. Once more, I was astonished about the Indian standards, compared to my country. There was so much dirt and dust, that one could think, he will fall sick in here, if he isn’t yet.

As a tattoo artist, I’m very conscious about hygiene and I work in sanitised clean surroundings, being highly cautious not to cause any infection to the client. So, I was watching every step the doctor and nurses made, while they got me examined.

It was totally fine. They put a nice sterile blanket on the bed, and they took all the actions needed to feel safe. Well, I haven’t seen any sanitiser, before they put on the gloves but at least there where gloves and I didn’t get sanitised as well, which was irritating but at the end I guess everything went well. The moment I really had to restrain myself from laughing out loud, was when the nurse used a torch to light up the situation. Lucky I’m not delicate, when it comes to Indian habits. On the contrary, I enjoy the differences as long as it doesn’t affect my health. Now I’m on preventive antibiotics, waiting for the results.

I don’t know if I’m too strict when it comes to cleanliness, but I have to admit, I like it clean around me, at least in my own flat. Other places I don’t mind. That would be a great issue over here, if it did. I just can’t understand why so many places here are messy and dirty as people tell me in the first place, when they understand that I’m from Switzerland, that my country is so nice and clean. But that is one of the many wonderful inexplicable things over here and I get along with it without any judgement but always in amazement.

(Simone Toni Weibel (47) is an independent artist, teacher and writer from Switzerland who has settled down in Dehradun.)