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Cell phones take up a significant portion of our time and we are well aware of it. We often acknowledge this fixation but we rarely attempt to change our habits or limit our phone use significantly. Here in India, time with cellular service is limited.

I would be lying if I said that I don’t often go through withdrawal. Sometimes, I find myself checking my phone knowing good and well I don’t have any new notifications to check. Sometimes, I just have the occasional urge to pick up my phone and find something to do on it.

“With interaction, you learn and better understand the values and ways of the Indian people.”

We criticize constant screen time and mostly for good reasons. When we consume ourselves with our phones we are less social and less aware of our surroundings. In a completely new environment, one of the worst things you can do, in my opinion, is to be overly occupied with your phone. In a different cultural setting, there are so many distinct aspects to uncover, both obvious and obscure. Being completely lost in the observance of new communities and people is far more enjoyable and worthwhile than being periodically lost in a phone. India presents so many interesting things and they will make you ask numerous questions.

Why don’t they use the lanes when driving? Why are there so many cows in the streets? Do people on the streets need a license or permit to own a store? These are obvious differences that come to mind. As you dig deeper, however, you start focusing on more complex things. You start to look closer at the different economies on every other block. You start to notice the difference in women’s clothing amongst varying age groups. You learn that the people are less private and more straight forward in conversation. With interaction, you learn and better understand the values and ways of the Indian people.

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