In India, there is only one type of bottled water i.e. mineral water or 'Bisleri', a generic term used for any bottled water. After having collided with a rows of neatly stacked bottles of various names and shapes at the airport lounge, I committed a faux pas by picking up a bottle labeled 'Sparkling Water'. The name suggested water and that's what we wanted. It turned out to be fizzy water and with a heavy heart we had to buy another bottle of Water. This time though the bottle was scrutinized thoroughly to avoid making another error. It was quite painful to pay a lot of money for a teeny bottle of water. I could hear my brain whir, quickly converting the amount paid in pounds to Rupees and calculating the cost of bottle in Indian Currency. It was an enormous amount and we made the water last quite a while. The cost could have fed 4 people a nice vegetarian lunch.
My family knows me as a spender and not a saver. My father would have been extremely proud to see me in a misers uniform. When you put your entire savings on moving to a foreign country, its inevitable that you take care of the pennies and also the pounds.
The first few months in UK, I was a virtual walking and talking human calculator...every expense made was converted in Indian currency without wasting a second. Every purchase was followed by astonished exclaims about the cost and a quick comparison to India.
As the days passed, this phobia lessened but has still not gone away. In spite of spending 2 years away I still cannot get over this habit.
Do any of you living outside India ever faced this phobia?