bedroom problems

Of all the things we miss about India, our bed is not one of them.

This bed, furnished by our landlord, was certainly big enough. And it had a lovely bedspread, courtesy of FabIndia. And its frame boasted a terrific amount of storage built right in.

But the mattress itself? Like a rock.

We’d wake up with side-aches. With bruises. With radical thoughts: could we ask one of our New York friends to open our storage unit, dig past our boxes and our bicycles, pull out our glorious Brooklyn mattress, box it up, and ship it to Delhi? OVERNIGHT???

We’d bought that mattress just a few short months before we discovered we were moving to India. In that brief period, we loved it intensely for one reason: its built-in padded mattress topper, stuffed as it was with goose down and aerogel and fairy wings and cotton candy and pure Appalachian cloud bank. With this mattress, we didn’t lie in bed so much as sink inside its Posturepedic womb.

In Delhi, we learned to gingerly sit on the bed before lying down; if we leaped in any faster, we risked breaking a hip.

Which bring us to the requisite generalization about life in India for this essay: mattresses are hard. Harder than Americans prefer. In fact, as it turned out, our Hauz Khas mattress was actually on the soft side—it took just one night of bedsores in a 400-rupee Jaipur hotel to realize that.

My inclination upon discovering this fact of Indian life was, naturally, to complain to my coworkers. And my complaints were, naturally, met with blank stares. One of my coworkers, Rajesh, explained to me that the harder the mattress, the healthier it was—which was why he and his wife didn’t sleep on a bed at all. “We sleep on the floor. It’s better for my back.”

My head believed him, but my aching extremities insisted that we find another solution. So one bright November day, Jenny and I headed to Lajpat Nagar. Our friends had assured us we could find any household good we could imagine there. The imported mattresses were out of budget — pain in wallet always trumps pain in back! And as for the cheaper mattresses we poked our fingers into: we risked a sprain every time.

We settled for buying two of the thickest, fluffiest comforters we could find to put under our sheets as a sort of comfort simulacrum. It worked, but not enough.

Look. Jenny and I don’t view ourselves as the kind of people who move to a foreign country and then complain about how everything is foreign. But in this, we couldn’t adapt. On our next trip back to the US, we bought a foam mattress pad and lugged it halfway across the world. Some cultural differences cannot be overcome.

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16 responses to “bedroom problems

  1. I dunno about delhi, but you can get any kind of mattress in Mumbai. All the american companies has flooded indian market in every industry. There is nothing which can get in US but not in India.
    I think you didnt look well.

    We dont have Ikea in India, but you can get cheap mattress done for urself according to your preferences.

  2. I have moved to NY from delhi, and my experience is other way round. i keep looking for the just-right firm mattress which is firm with a lil softness but not hard or springy, i should be able to keep a cup of tea on it and it shouldnt spill if someone sits on the other side of the bed 🙂 but so far no luck. I guess I have to shell out insane amount of money for tempurpedic.though when i tested it, i didnt like it that much; it is better than the simmons beautyrest luxury firm model that i have now. I didnt know about Posturepedic which you have mentioned. A few google search results show that its not that pricey. I should check that out too.

  3. I feel your pain, leterally.

    You might find this hard to fathom but my brother had a desi bed shipped to him in Cleveland! And he grow up here in the US! There is something about they ayurvedic breathing that says hard bed makes for good life or something

  4. My issue was the other way around.

    After my first trip out of India, I just could not wait to come back and sleep on my hard bed. I guess its a matter of getting used to.

  5. Ha! We had the exact opposite problem! After a few years’ struggling with the soft, springy US mattresses and achy backs and shoulders, we’ve recently sprung(!) for a $3000 Stearn & Foster ‘very hard’ mattress which is still not ‘good’ enough but atleast doesn’t leave us swearing and doubling up in pain every morning.

  6. In Bombay I bought a standard American-style full mattress, new, imported, $200 with delivery, no problem.

  7. Same problem here in Korea. However you can buy foam padding for the bed to go on top. I do believe the more expensive beds are more padded too, but when being an English teacher out here you get the low end of stuff.

    I actually found my back to feel good when sleeping on the stiff bed, but recently after visiting home missed the nice squishyness of a western bed.

  8. Sympathize. You can get memory foam mattresses in India. Google memory foam india for a list of suppliers. One issue with memory foam is that it may be hot in Delhi summers, but gloriously warm during those chill Nov-Dec nights!

    Here’s one supplier: http://www.spinekare.com/mf.html

  9. Hmm, as many other have pointed out, I too miss my bed and pillows too back in India. This time I brought one pillow with me to US so that I can have a comfortable sleep 🙂

  10. Reverse problem here. Am in the US, and find traditional American beds and mattresses too soft and too high – they should probably come with built-in ladders (like down an elephant’s back 🙂 ). We have an IKEA style platform low bed and mattress now, although a futon-style non-spring mattress did nicely too. It is still much softer than my parent’s guest bedroom mattress in India though, because now every-time I’m in India, that bed is way too hard! Sympathies, I know what you mean !

  11. Someone mentioned memory foam, which is still too expensive IMO. So instead, I chose natural latex. It’s soft and behaves like memory foam. There are plenty options to choose from – cheaper unorganized manufacturers or branded ones. Just remember to stick to 100% natural latex. Hope this helps!

    I found out about latex matresses here -http://www.sleeplikethedead.com/ . Their research finds latex, water and memory foam matresses to be high in customer satisfaction.

  12. I AGREE ! We had the same issue… Only place we found in India with soft enough beds were at the Saket suites hotel in Delhi and at a ‘cottages’ Guest house in Bangalore… We thought escaping to Thailand touristland would bring better beds… we checked everywhere. Even the Hilton in Phuket had rock solid beds. I think getting the memory foam is a good option, but difficult to travel with. Do you have any recommendations on comfy inexpensive accommodations throughout India. So far I haven’t found such a link on your blog.
    Happy Travels, Nancy H.

  13. Like many earlier commenters, I had the reverse problem when I came to the US. The beds were too soft and gave me horrible back aches, I still have remnants of the back mess up after ten years of returning to India. Syracuse was too cold to sleep on the floor. I dreaded nights every winter I was there.

  14. Really i agree from this issue, it is a difficult problem ofSpringair.in. You can get memory foam mattresses in India. Google memory foam india for a list of suppliers. Such a real peoblem of mattress in india.

  15. whatever problems you find at delhi but you wont get any problems Gyms in Delhi ..try it out

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