The Universe

India Revised

Occasionally I re-read what I have written. That is how the other day I came across my first post about India. There is one specific quote I would like to share with you here:

We heard so much mainly negative stories about India before we crossed the border that we had mixed feelings about coming here, especially after the whole embassy debacle. Herewith I say to each and every one of you out there that wishes to say anything negative: you are crazy! We have never met a genuinely friendlier people.

The truth about India is that you will either love it or hate it (as we were also told by Bea, a Canadian girl we met in Nepal).

The truth about me is that most of those first two weeks in India had slipped my mind (except for the Taj Mahal and the tigers). I’d forgotten about the people we met in the train to Jalgoan who immediately and without us having to ask arranged for someone to pick us up at the train station and help us further. I had forgotten about the people in Lucknow treating us like Bollywood stars. I had forgotten about the girl calling up all her friends to see who could give us a ride – because there was no way we could even consider taking the local bus. I had forgotten.

The reason for my amnesia is most likely to do with the attitude of a lot of Indians during the second part of our stay. I think this would be best explained by what an Indian couple we met in Vietnam said: “India should be making it much easier for tourists as they could be a great source of income. Instead they seem to be working against tourists by not treating them as humans but walking dollar signs.”

It is exhausting to have to haggle about every single thing you buy, because every single price they give you is ridiculously high. I know you have to haggle in Asia. That’s okay; you accept that as part of the experience. You also come to terms with the fact that you overpay every time, everywhere. It is a different story altogether in India. They will not only make you pay six or seven times the price for even just a coffee or a fruit juice, they will not bulge. There is no haggling, really. It is their way or the highway.

Which is just so tiresome. It makes you just wanna jump on the first airplane out – screaming – before falling away into oblivion, a dreamless sleep, knowing you will wake up in a different country.

Than I re-read what I wrote, and I cannot help but remember how good it was as well.

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These guys saw me take a picture on the streets of Lucknow and stop to ask if I could take one of them too

BLOG (2b)

Wandering in the streets of Agra we found an alleyway that lead to this view – yes! we are on a boat (fata morgana, right!)

BLOG (3)

When I turned a corner in the Ellora caves I witnessed a whole bunch of school boys overjoyed taking pictures of/with my brother (who is clearly enjoying being the centre of attention!)

BLOG (4)

The girl who called up a friend with a car and before we knew it we were cruising the streets of Chandrepur with some Hindi rap song blasting from the speakers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Being upgraded from 2nd to 1st class in the train from Nagpur to Bombay/Mumbai

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11 thoughts on “India Revised

  1. Hi,

    I am happy to read that you had a memorable trip in India. As an Indian myself, I can easily say that its not for the weak-hearted. I have friends from all over the world who either love India or simply cant stand it. Yes, its exhausting and tiresome and crowded, but once you go back home , you do miss it πŸ™‚

  2. India offers a mixed experience. And it is always assumed that whites can afford to pay more. You should be flattered when people automatically assume you are rich and can afford the ridiculous prices they quote. πŸ˜€

    • But that assumption is wrong. We are not necessarily “rich” because we are “white”. We might not be as poor, but “rich” means something different anywhere. However, that is not my point. My point is we are not being seen as a person, as human as well as “rich”. It is very frustrated. Especially if you are genuinely interested and not just there for a “holiday”.

      • It is wrong. No arguments there. And I can see how it can be frustrating, when you look for an authentic experience, and you are not treated like normal people.
        Next time, try taking any Indian friends you may have along with you. They assume we are poor. πŸ˜€ Or, you could stick to shopping malls. They don’t discriminate based on skin tone.

        • Hahaha, I like your atitude πŸ™‚ But shopping malls aren’t authentic. Thing is, the frustration we experienced occurred more when we were in the more touristy areas. So we should avoid those, I suppose. I guess it is also understandable from their point of view. Being poor in India means you are really struggling. Anyway, it was good for me to re-read my own writing, because it made me realize it wasn’t all bad πŸ™‚ In fact, it was pretty awesome at times!

  3. O ja, ook de groeten van Ome Bonne vanuit de Rentmeesterlaan in Tilburg, waar hij jullie verhalen en avonturen in de uitgeprinte vesies volgt …
    O ja, Al gehoord dat Lale en Stephen een baby hebben gekregen ? Largo ? Grootse naam… Gaan jullie nog op kraambezoek ? Waar wonen ze tegenwoordig ?
    Een hoop vragen, wanneer komen de antwoorden ? Wie zal het zeggen …

    22-11-2013 – MN namens BJM

  4. Wie reist, kan veel verhalen !!!
    Wie schrijft, die blijft !!!
    Wie goed doet, goed ontmoet !!!
    Allemaal clichΓ©’s en uitdrukkingen, raar, maar … waar !!!
    En in dez SInterklaastijd (ja, dat missen jullie daar natuurlijk),
    in deze tijd van zwarte en witte pieten – discussies, die jullie missen,
    is het mooi meegenomen, dat het wel rijmt als een bus.
    Ja, broer en zus
    uit Tilburg een dikke kus
    van die rijmende tante (dat rijmt zeker op warme wolle wanten).

    MN 22-11-2013

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