Monday, July 7, 2014

"When in India, do as the Indians do"

What have I learned for 6 months in India?

..."When in India, do as the Indians do"...

1. Eat with right hand from a one big steel plate while sitting on the ground. No chopsticks, no spoon, no fork, no cushion, no table. Slurp, lick fingers, eat everything - no rice corn should be left! I love this! When I was I child I remember my parents telling me "not to sit as monkey at the table" and to "eat
with civilized manners" and that "you are not in the jungle".

2. Use water and left hand to clean after going to the toilet. I stopped using toilet paper or tissues - the key of low budget traveling :)

3. Spot the right place to go to pee even on a busy town street. Public toilets are rare. While peeing don't bother if people come, just continue doing your business. I am still mastering that :)

4. Take a proper bath using soap in a yellow colored pond, river, or a village well.

5. While driving a bicycle ring the bell as much and as loud as you can in order to scare pedestrians and make them move out your way. Watch out for the cows. If you hear the mighty horn of a big truck or bus behind you, go left on the street side, put your hands in prayer position and pray. Pray while the monster vehicle passes 10 cm from you making terrible noise and your bones shiver.

6. If waiting on a queue (or something that looks like a queue) push, trick, go in front of others. Otherwise - no ticket or no food for you. The Low of the jungle! I am still a beginner on this and can't compete with the lifelong experienced Indians.

7. In a full train or bus (public transport is always full in India) if you are lucky to have seat, don't bother to stand up and offer your seat to elders, woman with a child, etc.. I offered my seat couple of times and ended up standing for looooong hours.

8. Not choke on a dirty dusty street. Spit in order to clean throat/ mouth.

9. Throw garbage (plastic bottles, plastic bags, food rests, etc.) directly on the street or out of the bus/train window.

10. Shake head like an Indian and smile and look at a stranger’s eyes as sign of friendship and good will. Functions well while bargaining and talking to strangers on the streets.

11. Bargain like an Indian (still working on it and need some tips and help!)

12. Hold hands with a male friend as sign of friendship. Happened to me few times already. A new Indian friend says “Come, I want to show you something” and grabs my hand. We walk together for long time… and he still holds my hand. I take deep breaths and try to be comfortable with it. Same is when a male friend puts his hand around my waist! This is totally OK between friends in India.

13. Dance with a man on Indian music. Happened few times, mostly in Punjab.

14. Talking Gibberish to a persistent intruder or scammer as taxi driver, “guide” or scammer. The word “gibberish” comes from a Sufi mystic, Jabbar. Jabbar never spoke any language, he just uttered nonsense. Still he had thousands of disciples because what he was saying was, “Your mind is nothing but gibberish!”

15. Make stare fights with strangers, who start starring at me. I became quite good in stare fights!

16. Talk English with Indian accent and using typical Indian English words. Still learning…

17. Know about Indian culture, religion, politics, food, people difference in different Indian states. Have a nice chat about that with people I meet in bus, train, on the street.

18. Stay calm, whatever it happens.

19. Don’t talk to a woman accompanied by a man. Only talk to the guy, even when asking a question about his wife.

20. Ride on the top of a bus.

21. My perception about distances became Indian. A city 4 hours away by train is “very close”. An overnight journey is “close”. A train journey between 24-30 hours is considered as a normal distance. Once I met a family traveling from Hyderabad to Kanyakumari. They wanted to attend a marriage function. A 48 hours trip in one direction, 48 hours spend at the marriage place, and 48 hours for the journey back!

22. Take a dip in Ganga to wash the sins away.

23. Visit a temple or a guru for darsana.

24. Do sadhana. The term "sadhana" means spiritual exertion towards an intended goal.

25. Be Indian! “Nice to meet you, my name is Rajkumar, I am Engineerwala from Kashi (the other name of Varanasi or Benares). I used to work in Germany, quit my job, now I travel in India for 6 months”

26. What I wanna learn most is to speak Hindi properly! Than half of India will be mine :)

27. I love Indian food! Especially the home cooked food by Mother in Kolkata, enjoyed everyday with Brother! My favorite all-India meal would be: 
Samosa from Bangalore + Kulcha from Amritsar + Tandori chicken from Madurai + Momos from Dharamsala + Muri from Balasore + Eggroll from Kolkata + Coconut chatney from Athithi Ashram in Tiruvannamalai + Lassi with cream and butter from Amritsar + Kulfi from Amritsar + The Famous Jigarthanda from Madurai + Rasgulla from Brother's village near Shantiniketan, West Bengal

28. One of my dreams is to live in Punjab - in Amritsar or Chandigarh. And to dip into the Punjabi lifestyle! 


3 comments:

Anonymous said...

really miss u my frnd... have safe n joyful tour...may god bless u..
from musthafa

Jessyca said...

Write more! looking forward for more sharing :)

Akhil mk said...

Hi,
Most the facts are correct, You remember me ? I'm the guy you met at Bus stop on your way to Airport at Kochi(Kerala).