May 30 2017, updated 7:40pm

READER REPORT:

'My post-divorce home is vibrant India'

PAULA SIMPSON
Last updated 12:41 16/05/2017
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Paula Simpson has immersed herself in the vibrant, colourful heartland of India, setting herself up in a new apartment.

The vibrant colour of the markets is a strong influence in the way the locals dress and decorate their homes.
Simpson is right at home in her new community.
It's all about high-rise living in Bangalore. The cages around some of the balconies in Simpson's complex are to stop monkeys from entering.
The apartment complex comes with a pool.
Supplied
Simpson says the apartment she shares is typical of Indian home interiors - it took her a while to find a comfortable mattress.
Simpson likes to get out and see as much of the country as she can.

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My journey began, as journeys so often do, with a broken heart.

'Is this it?' He asked sadly. 'Are you all I end up with for my life?'

My heart plummeted from my chest. In that instant, I knew he didn't want me, need me, the way I wanted him. The only man I'd ever truly loved, didn't love me. A numbing, crushing, weight enveloped me, drowning me in a thick tar of pain. Normally, such a positive, joyful person, I was rendered colourless, sapped of light.

I had to escape. A desperate message on Facebook to friend who had recently moved to India: "Got a job for me there? No, I'm not joking."

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Two days later it looked possible. Eight days later I booked my flight. Twenty-eight days later I landed in Bangalore, India.

I'm not an adventurous person. It was desperation and grief that drove me to make the most challenging, yet ultimately best, decision of my life. My life in New Zealand was unexceptional.

But India is intense. The heat, the smells, the noise, the vibrant colours, the food. It never stops.

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There is always noise… the constant hum of traffic, horns blaring. Children playing and squealing, discordant traditional Indian music, loud conversations in violent Hindi, construction noise.

The assault on your senses as you walk past burning incense, aromatic curries cooking, a fresh green waft of coriander from a street-side seller, then a cruel blast of raw sewage from an open drain. Beautiful women in colourful saris, splashes of pink, green, blue, yellow, and orange, with sequins and ornate embroidery, flashes of fabric and sashays of scarves. Men urinating on every roadside and against every fence.

It's intoxicating. To be thrown into this was incredible. The best remedy for a broken heart. Straight away, into a new job, with Indian staff. Indians are completely different to New Zealanders and were very challenging to manage.

Understanding their culture and how they operate – no joking, no fun, no initiative, and a very 'yes boss' culture. Very different from my experiences managing overly assertive staff in New Zealand.

After being made redundant when my employer made changes to the way the business was run, I set up a content development company, writing for New Zealand companies. It is now getting to the point where it is sustainable and I can live without eating into my savings.

MAKING A HOME

I have found an apartment, which I share with two lovely Indian women, which costs me Rs. 10,000 a month (NZD$226). It's a group of buildings, which contain hundreds of apartments within the society. It has a beautiful pool, and a clean, modern gym on the ground floor.

My apartment consists of three bedrooms, a lounge, and kitchen. Every bedroom has its own bathroom – this is common in India. While not beautiful, it is cool, clean, and functional.

Monkeys are becoming a major problem here, breaking into apartments and stealing food (eggs, corn, and mangos are firm favourites) so balconies often have caged walls to keep them out. When you have to shoo aggressive monkeys out of your apartment, as I have had to, you'll understand it's easier to keep them out in the first place.

The furniture here is uncomfortable for me. The furniture is usually wooden, heavy, and not something you would see in New Zealand homes. Beds are solid with a thin, hard mattress. This has required some hunting around to find a mattress I feel comfortable on.

Certainly, the attitude to decor here is heavy on the ornate gold and vibrant colours, a far cry from New Zealand's love of neutral whites and greys.

I have met an amazing man, who is as keen on travel and adventuring as I am. He's kind, gentle, intelligent, and if it wasn't for him, I couldn't have survived the past few months. India is a strange and disconcerting place, and very challenging, even for the hardiest and most experienced travellers.

You can find my blog at www.saucyandspiceblog.com to follow my (mis)adventures and travel.

And I know, in my heart, like they say over here: "Everything will be OK in the end. If it's not OK, it's not the end."

- Stuff

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