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What Every Traveller Needs To Know About India

Your welcome to India is not a friendly one. The first thing you notice is the people. I mean lots of people. People moving in all directions. You have to deal with the worst of India head-on, and it’s really raw. Be it the beggars, the touts, the poor children, or the local taxi drivers, you have to deal with all of them minutes after your arrival.Whatever tricks and tips you have prepared yourself with are forgotten in a matter of minutes after facing this rude welcome. It’s like learning to swim by reading a book, and them jumping right into the pool. India teaches you new lessons only after you have failed the test. 

And it is powerful enough to change the way you view life. The shock treatment strikes you at the very core of your being. No amount of homework can prepare you to handle this. The India poison works quickly on you. It’s bizarre but this is how India welcomes you. An average Indian thinks that all western culture is the same. For him US culture and UK culture are the same, leave alone the difference between Scotland and Wales! This has nothing to do with geographic understanding or the lack thereof, and the reason for this is simple – both the guest and the host are unaware of each others culture.
Culturally there is no “NO” in India. An evading answer is equivalent to NO. Never use the word NO if you don’t want to harshly deny something. “I just had a tea” is the polished way of saying NO to a tea offer than a polite “No. Thank you”. Or you may be given the head nod treatment which generally refers to yes. Its confusing to say the least….

In written communication also the word NO is not usually mentioned unless it is a very formal situation. A long silence from the other end can be treated as a negative answer. This appears, to a tourist, to be the most rude response one could receive, and it becomes extremely frustrating when trying to achieve or obtain information.

Here’s what every traveller needs to know about India…The most valuable currency you need to enjoy India in total is patience

The Taj

India teaches you systematically the new limits of your patience! Every hour of the day you face it…

People are more than happy to talk to strangers. A foreigner surely generates a lot of curiosity. The indication of their interest in you is that you will bombard with a lot of curious questions. Be prepared to answer a lot personal questions. The first would invariably be about from where you are coming? Before you have time to answer they will follow with “and what is your profession?” Then it could be how much you earn a month. Your answers can lead to sub questions! This is how they socialize. Surprisingly they may not ask your name. They think this is too personal a question to be asked! A poor Indian thinks that all the western tourists are infinitely rich!! They have loads of money that they don’t know what to do with it. Otherwise why should they travel around and waste a lot of money? And this is simply the beginning of the welcome.

Its an indescribable place, and like the Taj Mahal in Agra (where I am now), it is the most beautiful place, surrounded by dirt, pollution, and the poorest people you’ll ever meet. Either way you look at it, its hard for India not to leave a strong impression on you. The India itch…