It’s not that bad, seriously

(personal, non-work related post)

So, I read this post by Laura Foy up on her blog. Being an Indian n' all, and today being the Indian independence day, I thought I'd provide a more positive outlook on India. Any logical person wouldn't judge a country based on one person's experience, and I'm not going to refute everything Laura mentions in her post, coz hey, they're her experiences, right? Based on her standards, and her outlook on what is considered normal and what isn't. But, there's a pretty good chance that anyone reading her post is going to have this sick-ish impression of the whole of India, from top to bottom - the roads, the people, the food, the cows, the culture, you know, and I'm not sure I want that.

Anyone who visits India, and does not know what to expect is going to have a serious culture-shock, no doubt. India wasn't built, like, yesterday. For the most part, the infrastructure of the roads, the railways, the laws are bizzare and most of it has been put together just enough to 'make do'. And that is good enough for now, and frankly, I'll take it. Like the trains in Bombay - you'll see people just kinda hanging off the doors and not really caring about the possible consequences and such. But again - the train itself is weak, and is just enough to make do. It'll get you from point A to point B - sometimes. Barring terrorist acts and other things.

India's a massive freaking country. Like a zillion languages, a bazillion different types of cuisine, a billion people (some of them are weird, but humans overall are unpredictable and abnormal for the most part, so let's leave that aside), amazing natural phenomena - mountains, coast-lines, beaches, the works you know, deep deep historical culture that for the most part is unparalleled, etc. etc.

So what makes me like India, personally?

  1. the food - I've had days in Bombay when I've had authentic Italian for lunch, 'pav bhaji' at some point in time during the afternoon and Tapas for dinner. I'm a serious glutton, and I've been able to find any kind of food that I want, at pretty much any time of day.
  2. the people - everyone wants to help. Really. Some people want your money, and some of the poorer people are a little more upfront about in India. A few rupees (a couple at best) is good enough to get rid of anyone who is bothering you too much. Always works (has worked for me really well). A couple of rupees translates to like $(0.000001*10^-8)* or something miniscule like that.
  3. the culture - India's different. I can't explain this one, but you have to experience it to know where I'm coming from. It's a combination of several different things that makes India so culturally unique.
  4. the driving - I actually enjoy driving in India. In spite of what some people say, driving in India, or in a city like Bombay is actually loads of fun. The concept of driving there includes you wanting to get to your destination using the shortest, most practical route. If that means you're going to have to weave through farm animals, and stop on the far left lane even if you wanna make a hard right at the light because the light's red and the lane turning right is seriously clogged, then, that's what you do. Some people find it stressful to drive there, I find it to be a stress reliever (this could also probably be because I don't drive there everyday).
  5. family - most of my family lives there.

On second thoughts, as much as I want to say that things Laura Foy said didn't irk me, they did. So, the rest of this is for Laura Foy :

Laura Foy, did you do any homework at all before you went on your trip? Because having read your post several times, it sounds like you were expecting to take a puddle-hopper from like Chicago to Indianapolis or something (not a good enough analogy - I was going for the "did you know you were leaving the country, to another place which is far far away??")

> "where mind you there was no toilet paper or paper towels to dry your hands with- because trust me, you wash your hands in India"

Laura Foy, you wash your hands everywhere. You have to. You should know better than that. And if you didn't take some purell with you there, then, seriously, get some purell!

> Then we stopped for lunch at a LOVELY (read: filthy) roadside eatery. I decided to indulge in the traditional Indian cuisine of pepsi and a slice of pizza. I am so cultured.

Why? Why would you do that? Why? Why? If you know its filthy, and its by the road which you've claimed to be not-so-clean, why would you stop to eat there?

> It is actually suggested to beep at people. Most trucks have signs that say "horn please".

Actually the trucks say, "Horn, ok. please?". And true, honking is perfectly acceptable. Don't tell me there haven't been times when you've wanted to just blast your horn at someone? Don't you lie to me - you know you've done it, and if you could, you'd do it everyday, everyday.

Here's the shocker - your post is titled "Imagine Cup...India...Day 1". Maybe I missed it, or maybe you missed it, but you don't seem to have mentioned the Imagine Cup anywhere in your post. I think a more appropriate title would've been "India blows so far, and here's why".


* - based on 'teh' ai's math

Comments (17)
  1. sri says:

    It looks like Laura Foy didnot find any positive things to write! You have done a good job in trying to make understand!

  2. Anj says:

    Beauty Lies in the Eyes of Beholder… Ask people staying here n people like u missing it.. India is beautiful, most beautiful.. The happiness here makes it beautiful, which this ‘Lady’ cannot see!!!

  3. Bob Bachand says:

    Thanks for giving me your perspective. I would like to visit your country someday!

  4. Your Conscience says:

    Ai . I love you for this post. Hugs and Kisses

  5. ujwal says:

    Cool AI. Hats off to you. This is an awesome thing you did.I actually forwarded this blog link to a host of people. So expect more kudos.

  6. Linda says:

    I stumbled across your blog, and went to read Ms. Foy’s entry from the link you gave. All I can say is… so sorry she’s a total putz.

    I’ve been in India twice, and while it can be overwhelming sometimes, it was definitely one of the greatest places I’ve ever been. Can’t wait to go back again. 🙂

  7. Holly says:

    Wow, is she condescending, or what? Note to the Management (aka God): don’t send dorks like Laura Foy to India. Send me.

  8. Muthu Konar says:

    You pretty much said what I had in mind.

  9. Muthu Konar says:

    You pretty much said everything that I had in mind.

  10. Anand says:

    I haven’t read Laura’s post but just FYI for those who don’t know – pepsi and a slice of pizza is not the traditional cuisine of India 🙂 If that’s the impression she got, I wonder which place she visited.

  11. Ankit says:

    Really well written Anand. I am not someone who would carry the flag around and boast about the country I was born in, yet its important to look at the reality as it stands. I love India just like I love Australia and America. Some people have a steep learning curve to climb. All I can say is I hope they do it in this lifetime or they’ll miss out on a great oppurtunity to experience what the world’s gotta offer.

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