In my first few days in India, two different times on a bus a woman exploded in rage at a man who had done something to her and started beating him with a shoe. I see arguments and hear raised voices all the time. Even the animals get into it; the monkeys make terrifying noises when they fight.
I’m in a fighting mood, too. I am exasperated all the time with Indians, which I can’t understand. I know Indians, have Indian friends, correspond with Indians that read my blog, etc., but the moment my passport is stamped it seems like I am constantly at war with everyone I come in contact with.
It is very difficult to communicate. Just to understand them (and vice versa) is a Herculean task. Is each other’s accent so hard to pick up? Sometimes it feels like I am using the wrong English vocabulary, too, though even in the best of times I get short, terse answers or comments, like the main point of any interaction is that I am in their way of doing something else. Even if it is partly a communication problem, I’ve been to plenty of places around the world where there is barely a common language, so I can’t put my finger on why India is so problematic.
In many cases the frustration is just with aggressive hotel/rickshaw/souvenir shop/group tour touts, the kind of irritation travelers always attract by nature, but I get it all the time with everyone else, too.
My experience and perception might change if I could meet “real” local people. I am looking for a Couchsurfing host for when I am in Jaipur. One guy wrote in his Interests section: “All interests are destroyed by my wife…” I am going to pass on that happy couple. Couchsurfing is hard to arrange anyway given I can’t plan very far in advance.
The fantastic Indian food normally heals all wounds, but I am hardly eating for some reason, and if you know me, that’s hard to imagine. Must be the heat. It is brutal. My shirt and body become caked with salt that I sweat off and then 33C in a 400 rupee ($9) fan room blowing hot air on me isn’t soothing.
When I am eating, I go for the curd in little ceramic cups if I can find it. Often when you finish the curd you are supposed to throw the cup to the ground, smashing it to pieces, but not at every place and I am afraid to make a mistake and start another clash. I saw one guy mixing his curd with some water and I asked if it was mineral water. He said the water was “government supply”. I like that answer. I am going to say that from now on instead of boring “tap water”.
I am trying to make my money last in India, which is harder than expected because India isn’t so cheap anymore. I used to always reflexively say that India is the cheapest country in the world, but that’s the past. Food, especially, is noticeably more expensive.
Question of the day: how many saris get stuck in the New Delhi metro escalators? I bet the maintenance guys have stories.
I’d be more interested if you hear an Indian speak in NOT a raised voice.
” the moment my passport is stamped it seems like I am constantly at war with everyone I come in contact with.” YES, preach it brother! If we join together with a few other million travellers maybe we can get India off the tourist trail until they CALM DOWN!
“It is very difficult to communicate” I think it stems from being one of the very few countries where everyone is convinced they can speak English, when in fact they can’t. Also, they don’t give a shit.
“My experience and perception might change if I could meet “real" local people.” Only if you get lucky AND play those lucky cards right. After three months travelling in India I worked in a rural orphanage for two months…It was in fact the experience of living with “real people” that sent me home with a shattered soul/mind/body/heart/head/back/stomach/etc. to spend two months comatose on my parent’s couch.
” India isn’t so cheap anymore.” Dude, you’ve been in Mumbai and Delhi! The two most expensive places in India! Go south! Or east! Or North! Or anywhere that isn’t a massive wanna-be-western city!
Answer of the Day: 42. True Story, I’ve seen it. Not much to tell…
It is good to hear the comments of a man renowned for his even temperament and peace-loving ways
Everywhere but India, man. Everywhere but India.
I am residing in Delhi, feel free to drop in whenever you visit next. The beds do not have bugs.
This message is for Caleb House… We do not care whether you come or do not come, it’s your own choice! We do not need tourists who have a problem!
The so called English language is spoken differently in different countries even in US and UK and we have our own flavors of English and if you do not understand it is your problem and again we do not care a damn if you have a trouble with it and that is your problem again and my advice is that do not make your problems as ours! or do not make your challenges as our objectives!