KORAKOR Travel Guide India

by Keveen Gabet
(Draguignan, France)

NB : I say « India » but I have only explored an infinite portion of this eclectic country. Therefore, the the word India is here misused as it cannot refer to the country as a whole but a simplified generalization.

The same applies to the word « the Indians ».

- You cannot love India

- You cannot hate India

- You will alternatively love it and hate it

- You will often change your mind every 30 meters or seconds.

- India is somewhat inexplicable.

- The cliché ‘Sub Kuck Milega’ (‘everything is possible’ in Hindi) was created for a reason.

- Forget about the concept of space: India is a place where everything mixes with everyone.

- Forget about the concept of time: minutes can last hours and hours can last seconds

- If someone tells you ‘we will see’, or ‘it should work’, be prepared for the negative

- The little wobbling ‘8’ they do with their head both means agreement and denial.

- If you want to see another India, head to the villages, far from bleached reality for tourism purposes.

- Overpopulation makes the most trifling thing seem very violent or brutal: buying a train ticket or a snack is often a wrestling match with the crowd.

- Indians do not speak with an accent…you do.

- Indian roads are an earthly hell.

- You don’t learn road rules, you live them and then improvise.

- Trust your drivers, they perfectly know the size of their vehicle.

- You honk for no seemingly no reason, but if you don’t honk, pedestrians no longer see you

- India is loud. It is useless to get irritated by those noises or those people who piss you off

- Growing a mustache is a sine qua non condition for being a real man

- Indians love European tourists and will always ask to take a group picture

- There are no Indian tourists (nor European ones) in villages

- Originally, each village had a Darhamshala ( a place for pilgrims to rest and get a free meal). This tradition is long gone, but you could always try to revive it.

- It is impossible not to be invited for tea or a meal by local people

- Invite children to play and comb your hair

- The water you buy in bottles is not mineral water but purified water. It is therefore preferable to find a solution to get your amount of minerals form another source. I personally recommend drinking tap water (it can only make your stomach a stronger one)

- You don’t put your lips on bottles or glasses. You pour the liquid from a distance and try to aim.

- Feet are a sensitive subject. Refrain from picking them in public, pointing them toward others, touch anyone or anything with them or show your foot-writing skills.

- If you touch a person with your lower body (foot, legs…), place your hands on the spot and bring them back to your forehead or heart and kindly apologize.

- Indians have thousands of urban legends and customs that animate and rule their days

- If need be, they will create new ones or improvise.

- Nothing is absolute in India

- There is an organized chaos

- India is not dirty, your country is too clean

- Villages are much cleaner and healthier than cities

- Bombay / Mumbai has declared that Racketing fees could be deducted on annual taxes.

- India is the second largest Muslim country in the world after Indonesia

- Pakistan is their best / worst enemy. People who don’t like you might invite you to go to
Pakistan, meaning ‘go to hell’

- India will never forgive China for giving Pakistan the nuclear bomb

- In 2008, 4 Indians were amongst the 10 richest men on earth

- ? Indians live with less than ? dollar a day

- There are some 1.16 billion people in India, from which only 30% live in cities

- Hindus (82%), Muslims (12%), Christians (2%), Sikhs (2%)

- Untouchables are also known as Dalits or Harijans ‘children of God’

- In order to modernize the caste system, they enforced affirmative action in favor of the Dalits

- They are about 250 million people considered in this caste (or out of caste)

- Even though many Indians affirm that they no longer believe in the caste system, you might see that it often is an obsession.

- Many convert to Buddhism since it does not enforce the system

- Ambedkar is Dalits’ Ganhdi.

- Muslims don’t really like Hindus but try not to show it too much

- Hindus don’t really like Muslims but try not to show it too much

- If you are present during a Muslim / Hindu conflict, run as far as you can

- Women are the most fascinating element of India. Their endurance is an example for all

- They are the pillars of society but let the men believe in and enjoy their so-called supremacy.

- 8 Indian women are purposely burned every hour, most women have to walk 5 to 10 kilometers to fetch water, and many suffer from urinary infections as they must wait till dusk to relieve their bladders (as a group)

- Everything can be found in the streets. From facial massages to dentists

- Sweets might look great, but they remain a tasteless souvenir.

- Indians are incredibly clean people. They have an obsession with water and showers

- It is preferable to brush your teeth before eating anything in the morning

- TV is a new god

- Even in improvised tents, people will have a rusty TV set.

- If you don’t understand Indian films, it is absolutely normal.

- They don’t have studio recorded songs. Their hits all come from Bollywood films.

- It is not sufficient to know the songs, you have to act and dance them

- Westerners are sought to feature as under-paid actors

- Grotesque and kitsch is an art in the Indian film industry

- Love scenes are infantilized.

- Curry powder is a mixture of spices that every mother keeps preciously.

- Masala is a mixture of spices

- All in all, India is a masala: a mixture of random things that make the country a mine of splendors.

- Tea is called ‘chai’ (pronounced ‘Tchai’)

- The word chai does not necessarily mean the sweet milky and spicy tea. It is just the only one the tea maker will offer it.

- They can also make it with no sugar, no milk and no spices (ginger or cardamom), but they will not really understand why you drink tea (it is the equivalent of eating pizza with no cheese, no tomato sauce and no olive oil)

- Chai is served and drank extremely hot

- When people pour you tea with a saucer under your cup, you can pour some tea in the saucer to let it cool down and then drink it from the saucer itself.

- Your left hand is dedicated to your genitals and natural needs

- Many gestures might look very rude and clumsy but they are not offending in their culture

- Indians tend to stare at people

- Some Indian doctors are trying to cure AIDS with Ayurveda (natural medicinal science based on the Vedas)

- Some elephants can swim more than 3km

- More than 3 million tourists visit India each year…but you will not see them in villages.

- Hinduism has more than 330 million divinities (basically, one for each state of being or phenomenon)

- Indians love world records: longest finger nails (6.5 meters), longest non-stop crawling (1,400km), standing on one foot (65h and 50 minutes), shaking 31,118 hands in 8h, belching 92 times per minute, chopping 964kg of vegetables in 130h, and so forth.

- The Taj Mahal is man’s greatest erection for a woman.

- Indians have a fantastic sense of humor and can be extremely sarcastic.

- Each Indian is a poet deep inside

- When people say 100 rupees only, it not not mean that it is cheap but that it is the exact price.

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