India. And all of the quirks.

Travelling to India in any capacity is a true experience. It doesn’t matter what your reflection of it ends up being, but I can almost guarantee it will by far be the most interesting place you will ever visit. The best way I could describe it, is it is simply a sensory overload. Everything is crazy. It is the loudest place you’ll ever go, the various scents will hit you from all ends and the amazing overdose of colour almost makes you squint. At some point you feel nothing else can surprise you, and all of a sudden you catch yourself surprised.

I’m still in the midst of reflection, but one thing is for certain are some quirks, that you will find nowhere else other than India.

Here are some thoughts I came out of India with, and all of the quirks.

On driving:

  • My driver Rajesh tells me you need three things to drive in India- Good horn, good breaks and good luck.
  • There are no true traffic rules- suggestions at best
  • There actually is traffic police
  • Lanes, lights and signs are also merely a suggestion
  • A motorcycle can actually accommodate a family of 4
  • A rear view mirror serves as decoration and can be replaced with a tv
  • Cows have the right of way and frequently can be found in the middle of a road
  • Pedestrians need to run, as they don’t have the right of way, perhaps pray to Ganesh as doing so
  • A decorated vehicle will bring you more luck

On religion:

  • The cow is holy. So is the camel, the elephant and about every other living mammal.
  • Not only is the cow holy, so is everything about it- even the poo
  • Gods come by the millions
  • Vishnu is a cool dude, and so is Shiva…and Brahma
  • Ganesh is pretty awesome too- but he always comes first
  • The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum, not temple or a mosque
  • Hindu is a religion- Hindi is a language

 

On family life/ love:

  • Like in the western world- happy wife, happy life is still very true
  • Arranged marriage is still very common, the Sunday “husband/wife wanted” ads will prove it
  • There are pre-wedding detectives to get all the dirt on prospective spouses
  • An average wedding can take 7 days
  • The Taj Mahal is the greatest symbol of love in the world (in my opinion)
  • The Camel symbolizes love

 

On beauty:

  • The grass is always greener; in India everyone wants lighter skin- the more fair, the more beautiful- I still want a tan
  • The colour white is for mourning and black is rarely seen. The more colour the better. Regardless of what the task, it is to be complete in red, fuscia, teal, orange or any other colour that exudes happiness
  • The way your hair is parted can easily determine your status in society
  • They way a turban is wrapped and its colour can also determine you status in society (Hindu)
  • A bindi/tilak is commonplace to clearly outline marital status
  • Saris and other traditional dress still overtake the popularity of western clothes

On Politics and law:

  • There is a president, a vice president and a prime minister
  • India has the largest democracy in the world
  • India also has the largest amount of registered voters- and the highest turnout as well
  • It is illegal to take Indian Rupees out of India
  • There is a petition going to make the Cow the new national animal
  • The fine for spitting in the Delhi metro is greater than riding on the roof of the train

 

On the day to day:

  • India is the poorest country you will ever see
  • India is the richest country you will ever see
  • The Delhi metro is also superior to that of most western countries (Shame on you Toronto)
  • Painting religious deities on walls is meant to prevent public urination
  • Bollywood is the largest movie producer in the world
  • Wasting food is a sin- my waiter insisted on making me finish my meal by putting more food on my plate
  • Patience is a true skill in India
  • Queuing is suggested- elbows are necessary
  • Google maps will not direct you to the right address
  • You are the attraction, get ready to be in many photos
  • You will smell the best things you have ever smelled
  • You will smell the worst things you have ever smelled
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