There are certain practices that seem so perfectly normal in your own culture that it takes immersion in a completely foreign way of life to realize how absurd they are.
For instance: what would you do with a toaster that doesn’t toast? With an electric lunchbox that doesn’t heat up? With a t-shirt that’s too big?
If I was home, I would a) throw it away, b) throw it away, and c) give it to Goodwill.
But here in India, I a) get it fixed, b) get it fixed, and c) get it fixed.
There are at least a dozen tailors set up and sewing away in our main market, not counting the guy repairing shoes on the sidewalk who you pass on the way there. There are also at least three electricians in the north-west corner of the market alone, sitting in their closet-sized shops overflowing with spools of wires and dusty motors from appliances long-since disassembled.
After twenty rupees and two hours, the Indiana Jones t-shirt I bought in Thailand is now the right size. After 150 rupees and two days, I don’t have to buy a new toaster and I don’t have to buy a new lunchbox.
Fixing stuff instead of throwing it away! Only in India.
(By the way, you read that right: electric lunchbox. They’re great, except when they fail.)