India is diverse. And that might be an understatement.
As a land mass, it is pretty large and each area has its own airport. Each region has its own food, its own language and customs. All of that with its take on modernity makes for an interesting place to live.
I ride the metro every day – and published an article about foreigners on the metro for my internship.
One of my favourite things to do while riding the metro everyday is to look at what people are wearing. Some wear saris every day, others colourful tunics, and others ‘western’ clothes. Rarely do I see a woman without a modern looking purse.
And, their socks have a space between the large toe and the four others, so women can wear socks and flip-flops at the same time.
The streets are the same. On one street, you will have buses, cars, auto-rickshaws, motorbikes, bicycles, carts, people walking their carts, tractors and occasionally a cow (especially in the North).
Crossing any street is like playing chicken… while drunk… and the drivers are drunk. Now, no one is really drunk in this scenario but people here drive pretty crazy.
But I can’t talk to much. My first time trying to ride a scooter in Goa, I had crashed it within 15 minutes.
It is so difficult to explain what life is like here. So I will just tell a couple stories about experiences I’ve had or stories people have told me.
For New Years, children of young and old build mannequin like figures called “The Old Man”. They build them before new years, display them and try to raise money for having the best ‘old man.’
Then, at the stroke of midnight on New Years Eve, they burn them.
Most of them stuff them with firecrackers.
On our way to Amistar to Agra, our 8 hour train ride turned into a 21 hour train ride. The family (of about nine) beside us can up and asked my dad if he could see some of our currency.
Apparently they love to collect currencies from around the world. They were extremely nice and so interested in why a loonie is called a loonie.
O, I also tried to get my dad to wear his Winnipeg Jets shirts as much as possible
When we were in Udaipur, I found my dad talking to an old man without any teeth. He was holding a pouch filled with hundred of envelopes.
He used to be an auto-ricksaw driver in the city for over 20 years. He has given people his address and after they returned they sent him letters, postcards and photos of him. He said he also had more at home.
On Christmas Eve, we attended a ‘pani’ which is a bridal ceremony for East Indian Christians. A pani bharna, pani which means water in Hindi, is where they collect water from the well for the bride and groom to wash with it. [Don’t quote me on this tho]
In modern times, they collected the water and led it down the streets of Mumbai while family and friends danced behind.
People stare at my all the time. And yes Delhi, I realize you are staring and just trying to be polite by not saying anything. It would be too exhausting to say it tho. However, one thing I really hate is when people take your pictures without asking.
Many times, people will ask you to be in a photo with them and their friends – which is fine. But trying to ‘sneakily’ follow me and take photos of me is kind of creepy.
Now, a vacation would not be a vacation for me without a cop on a power trip trying to throw me in jail over a mediocre charge. India is not without corruption.
They also have India’s Minute to Win it here. But watching TV is a little hard since they censor out lots – like the word ‘jerk’. Unless of course its a commercial where they seem to have none of the same standards.
Small kids like to practice their English with you. They will come up and say “Hi, How are you?” and then run away. Or sometimes stay, but they usually can’t understand your answer for the questions. They just knew that one phrase.
Here are some more pictures: