Apart from issuing fatwas (not legal now) against Indians writers who hurt Indians’ sentiments we have to also argue with foreign writers who describe India using obsolete information (Hey Google, give us our right to be forgotten) or stereotypes (land of snakecharmers, seriously?!) or even lifestyle of a small community of India. Yes, pick a mystic activity of a small community and generalize it for the rest of 1.2 billion. Here are the most common ways by which they describe India (and I’m not going to present a counterpoint, you may do that in the comments or follow the links and let the verbal bashings begin!)
Festivals every week
With so many religions and cultures existing side by side in India, it’s rare for a week to go by without some sort of celebration. Indians will normally extend invitations to anyone and everyone from next door neighbors to stray travelers who they may have met that morning on a train. It’s wise to bring along a change of clothes when invited to share mutton biryani during Eid or set off Lakshmi banger fireworks in the street at Diwali or be doused in colored water during Holi, the festival of spring.
Indian Stretchable Time
Planned a meeting at 9:30? Expect your guests to arrive closer to 9:45-10:00, possibly even 10:30. Indians move to a different time schedule jokingly referred to as Indian Standard Time. It’s not for a lack of clocks. Mobile phones are a personal fixture and everyone is checking them constantly. Punctuality in India is not the same as in the western world; however this is changing with the rapid integration of western standards within the country.
Tourists using a car and driver service will experience this at least once during a tour of India. A 9:00 AM scheduled departure may end up being closer to 9:30. The excuse? The car didn’t start, it needed to be washed, the driver was asking directions, etc. How do you react to this? You don’t. Let the driver save face and chalk it up to your first encounter with IST.
If there exists a record, it will be broken
India is more obsessed with breaking records than any other country. Not something that I can prove with official sources, but I am pretty sure it is true. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, India ranks third behind the USA and the UK in the number of records claimed each year. Among the recent additions was the largest gathering of people (891) dressed like Mahatma Gandhi. But this leaves out the large number of often bizarre and obscure record claims that never make it to the Guinness Book, but that are compiled in similar local compendiums such as the Limca Book of Records and the India Book of Records. The records include the longest garland made of cakes of cattle dung (2 km) , for performing yoga on horseback (10 hours) , and for lighting electric bulbs by passing a wire through one’s nose and out of one’s mouth (30 sixty-watt bulbs) . Sometimes record-seekers go too far – as do their parents. In 2007, a 15-year-old boy, under the watchful eye of his doctor parents, performed a caesarean section in a hospital in Tamil Nadu, in an attempt to be recognised as the world’s youngest surgeon. Unsurprisingly, the police and the medical authorities took a dim view of this particular attempt on a world record.
Buri Evil Eye Wale..
The evil eye is a myth that is found around the world, but it’s taken quite seriously in many parts of India. Known as nazar, it comes from the idea that a gaze can cause harm. It’s said that offering praise, or even an admiring glance, can drain someone’s luck and energy. Mothers must be careful not to be too complimentary of their babies, for fear of drawing the evil eye. In order to help this, babies are given imperfections, in the form of a black mark made on the face, or a black thread tied around the arm.
The evil eye is said to be cast by those that may have reason to be jealous. Childless women looking with admiration at the children of others are casting the evil eye on the youngsters. Similarly, looking enviously at someone’s cow may cause the beast to stop producing milk and waste away. Those in poor health or circumstances may be said to cast the evil eye by looking at those that are better off.
The good news is that there are ways to protect oneself from the evil eye. Some shops sell nothing but talismans designed to ward the eye off. Often, people will hang up chilies, limes, and lemons as a homemade alternative. There are even places online that sell fruit-based wards to protect homes and offices against the evil eye, should you have a few rupees to spare and a desire to improve your lot.
Glancing > 5 seconds = Staring
This MIGHT be the creepiest of them all, because it affects a white woman every single time she goes outside. Especially when she is outside alone. So in America, it is perfectly fine for a little kid to be curious and stare at someone who is a bit different looking. But when you are an adult, you need to stop that, and advert your eyes when caught staring. In India, it doesn’t matter if you are caught.
Sanitation and Hygiene
Unfortunately, sanitation and hygiene is severely lacking in India and can be the cause of many problems and illness for visitors. Some adjustment is required while traveling in India. However, with a bit of care it’s possible to avoid getting sick.