Stefan Arestis | Aug 29, 2017 | 4
10 interesting facts about India, we love or hate it
Ahhh India India India, you caught us by surprise!
We struggled with you at first, but after a while you really grew on us…a lot.
We now het the whole love hate India thing people keep referring to when they talk about you and with hindsight, we do love you and want to come back very soon.
Here’s a few of the reasons why we love hate India and why we want to return for more.
#1 HATE INDIA: traffic chaos and mayhem in India
The first thing that greeted us when we set food in India and came out of New Delhi station was the complete traffic chaos and mayhem:
The chaotic traffic is particularly more prevalent in Northern India.
With such a large population (almost 1.3 billion) and with one of the highest population densities in the world, it’s not surprising to see so many people everywhere.
But it is impressive to see so many people, cows, motorbikes, rickshaws and more people coexisting peacefully in one big disorganised mess.
Trying to cross the road during a traffic jam in Old Delhi was a particular memory that summed up the chaos in India:
#2 LOVE INDIA: beautiful world wonders!
Yet, amongst all the chaos, India has some of the most beautiful temples, palaces and forts we’ve ever seen:
…including the Taj Mahal mausoleum of course:
#3 HATE INDIA: the intense poverty
Travelling through India, the intense poverty is so in your face and commonplace. This was an aspect of India we really struggled with, particularly in the north.
After a while you almost get used to seeing crowds of poverty dotted around almost everywhere: barefoot children who’ve not washed in a long time, people begging, families sleeping in the streets or train stations.
#4 LOVE INDIA: really charming charismatic people
The people make this love hate India relationship better all the time. They are so charming and very animated: there is never a dull moment and wow do they love having their photo taken with us foreigners!
And some of them we found to be particularly, er, charming! He he he:
#5 HATE INDIA: open sewers and lots of pooh
Just when you get charmed by the very fun people, you almost miss falling in one of many open sewers everywhere.
This was a love hate India thing we reluctantly got used to over time. In place of a pavements throughout India there are open sewers. And they’re not pleasant.
And having cows roam freely inevitably means large amount of cow pooh everywhere. But, as this is pooh from a sacred animal, it will get decorated in this, er, beautiful way:
In fact we noticed it wasn’t just cow pooh we noticed in one of the Indian trains…
#6 LOVE INDIA: the cute head wobble
The side to side head wobble is one of our favourite love hate India memories.
Is it a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ or a ‘maybe’?
We did find that the more enthusiastic the head wobble, the more likely it means ‘yes’ and a shorter one is more likely to mean ‘no’.
Although it didn’t seem quite as authentic when Stefan tried it:
#7 HATE INDIA: Indian trains never on time
Train travel in India is certainly a highlight and a great way to admire the Indian landscape.
But, an unfortunate reality we found travelling through India was that trains are frequently at least around 2/3 hours late…
We waited for 4 hours for our delayed train at Agra to return us to Delhi…our train from Udaipur to Khajuraho was delayed by 3 hours because the engine broke down and had to be replaced…our train from Khajuraho to Varanasi was almost 3 hours late for an unknown reason.
But we quickly learnt you just need to swallow it, sit back and enjoy the ride!
#8 LOVE INDIA: colour colour LOTS of colour
Colour followed us around in India and another reason why we fell in love with her.
The saris worn by Indian women are incredibly beautiful:
Some of the cities are even nicknamed after a colour like the ‘Blue City’ (Jodhpur) or ‘Pink City’ (Jaipur).
Diwali in Jaipur is a particularly special time to be in the city when it is more colourful and bright then ever.
And the buses in Kerala were decorated in this colourful way (before they set off zooming dangerously on the roads):
#9 LOVE HATE INDIA: the Indian helicopters and their annoying drivers
The tuk tuks in the big cities will induce quite a strong love hate India feeling.
On the one hand, you will quickly grow to hate the tuk tuk drivers at times. They can be very disingenuous, trying to scam you, claiming your restaurant/hotel is closed and instead take you to where they can get a commission.
Whist you can refuse to pay them if they do this, it wastes time and leads to an inevitable confrontation (or tantrum if you’re a hungry Nomadic Boy).
But, on the upside, tuk tuks are an economical means of getting around. And they are a lot of fun…especially when they go against the crazy flow of Indian traffic…
#10 LOVE INDIA: food food food paradise
We got very lucky and didn’t get the famous ‘Delhi belly’ bowl syndrome most travellers to India fall victim to. We were very careful to avoid all non bottled water, steered clear from all street food but we did buy our fruit from the many street sellers.
Indian food kept these two greedy boys very happy (but did spark quite a few arguments as well):
#11 LOVE INDIA: grandiose weddings
An Indian wedding is an honour to be invited to and attended one in the village of Amber near Jaipur.
Indian weddings are massive events, particularly in rural areas where the entire village community gets involved.
Anywhere between 100 and 10,000 people attend to watch the groom in a covered costume draped in money (a sign of good luck) leave his house, on horse, to go through the village to the bride’s house where the ceremony takes place and the hungry revellers are fed.
Being the only foreigners, we stood out. So everyone wanted to speak and pose for photos with us, especially this group of cheeky boys who followed us during the entire procession:
The Indian wedding sums up the love hate India feeling we felt travelling here. It is chaotic, loud, extremely colourful and heaps of fun!
Read this article by our friends With Husband in Tow for more about traveling in India in comfort.