India: 10 thoughts

I promised I won’t make any post at this blog about my life leaving this source for IT experience. But, evolving, I’ve thought it through and eventually marked this rule as a limit. If you set the limits – you’ll never be free. So, try to do what’s curious for you all the time. That’s why I’ve got this post.

10 thoughts is a blog posts cycle about different subjects. As mentioned above, there is no limit about what to explore, when, and how. The general format is: explain what am I talking about and set 10 personal thoughts about subject.

Getting started, I’d like to talk about travelling experience. Probably, travelling is the most favorite kind of leisure in my life. Things like breaking borders, enhancing mindset, exploring new culture and people are priceless. So, everybody knows how awesome travelling is, let’s dive into the subject.

The subject is India. In October I’ve got a small 2-weeks trip across this outstanding country. I enjoyed the life, tried to learn something from distinct culture and meet the new people. As anybody else, I did mistakes. Dozens of mistakes. Hope this bunch of failures I’ve got will help me in the future. So, let’s get down!

1. Adoption


All thoughts here might be interpreted as a thoughts of western mindset. Yeah, Russians have a western mindset and there is no big difference comparing with Europe and US. Of course, culture matters, but folk in these sides have the same values (make the money, bitch!) and social needs.

Indian mindset is different. As a pace of life, as a traditions. India has a high barrier to entry, you can’t just join and enjoy. I took a 2-3 days to figure out how to get the stress out after environment change. Population density is higher than in Europe and US. Especially you feel it when you walk through local bazaars. And so on, and so forth.

So, what am I talking about? India is a different beautiful place to find yourself with different canons and traditions. If you solved to go to India (not only Goa!) – please, take a time to adjust.

2. Culture


Indian culture might be surely called an outstanding. It matters a lot of walks of life. There is a Hinduism religion with plenty of gods. There are distinct ways to find the happiness. Of course, it’s yoga culture and meditation. Different architecture of temples, monuments and forts (India feature) is going to amaze you. Special music you can hear everywhere – there is no bonds with the western.

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India is worth to visit, because it’s India. There is no way to find the ideal of streets, but there is the way to find ideal in mind. This is the country of freedom, even more freedom than in Europe or US. But this kind of freedom is not for everybody.

3. People


My point of view about travelling is simple. Want to know the place? Speak with local people, live with them, share with them. The most foolish thing in travelling is a personal shutdown. When you live in comfortable hotels, take useless guide tours, speak only with friends. Stop it! There is no difference between such kind of trips and Travel TV Show watching!

So, hope you understood my ground. I came to India by myself, with no friends and relatives. But I was not alone at all! I met the spectacular people everywhere who tried to help me and just spend the time with me.

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I used Couchsurfing to stay with locals for culture sharing and new adventures. Nothing is expected in such way, you’re always getting into interesting situations. Something’s bad, something’s good. Couchsurfing helped me to penetrate into India, meet interesting identities and learn from them. That’s pretty cool to know what do they think, what do they usually do, how do they feel their country. Priceless experience!

Although Indian folk is a quite bipolar. Where you meet the awesome people, you also meet the cheaters. They tried to suck the money from your pocket as soon as they see your white face. They can disturb you and ask hundreds of times about buy their stuff and take a rickshaw when you said “No!”. Sometimes I’ve been in situations when one man made friendly relations with me and after that tried to borrow an unbelievable amount of money talking about specific problem. My luck, I wasn’t stupid enough to agree. I can’t say that it’s a typical Hindu. Just be careful.

4. Schedule


If you’re so schedule-dependent, have all life planned in calendar. If you know what do you want to do in the next 3, 5, 10 years. Then you’ll learn one simple lesson in India – don’t plan anything! Don’t expect anything! Don’t schedule your time up to the second!

India has a schedule of public transport, business hours and so on. But it’s so flexible that might be mentioned in Agile manifesto. When you take a train – it’s going to be delayed in a couple of hours. Almost every train.

Ignored this, I’ve got into few troubles. I haven’t seen Taj Mahal yet while I’ve been in Agra. Why? My train delayed in 3 hours and I came there at the deep night and went out in the morning. I lost my money in booked ticket from train to Bangalore, because it wasn’t confirmed. I missed my flight in the transfer because the first one was delayed in 2 hours. So, I changed my ticket, having a lot of more rupees copay.

Such failures are painful, because they touch the thing you strongly believe – your money. But it’s teaching you! Teaching to be flexible. Teaching to drop any expectations. Teaching to just relax and stop to think about schedule during the trip.

5. English


Before my trip, I thought every Indian can speak at least in English, because of education in English. Nothing of the kind!

Please, prepare to be misunderstood with your English. Especially in slums and villages. There is no one who can speak English except some people. Take some gestures and learn some common phrases in Hindi. Unfortunately, I couldn’t learn this language. If you can freely speak in English with Indian, it means he’s well-educated fellow. But not everybody is well-educated.

Although it’s not such a big problem. You’re interacting with human and that is all! So, even your language isn’t his language – try to express yourself to be clear. Or, at least, try Google Translate mini-chat.

6. Food


Hopefully, every nationality has its own cuisine with some special tasty things. Indian food has 10 yummies of 10! Their veggie spicy plates, pies and drinks are spectacular! Masala, paneer, roti, lassi! Everything is great. I didn’t take any food photo, but, turst me, it looks like this.

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Moreover, everything is cheap. Even for Russian province guy, the pricing in Indian cities is definitely low. I’m silent about Europeans and Americans. Tasy natural cocktail from squeezed tropic tree will cost you about 0,15$! Big street food breakfast costs around 1,5$! Even the big dinner in luxury Indian restaurant costs about 4-6$ per person. So, one more reason to visit India.

7. Latitude


Saying India is wide and different means saying nothing. This is the one of the biggest countries with 1,3 billion population. 2 weeks I took for India investigation wasn’t really enough. That’s cool to penetrate into the culture, you can even be tired of this. To fully explore the India, you have to take a long way from North, when Himalayas above your head, to South where paradise will be happened.

Actually here is the map of my trip.

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In reality I skipped Bangalore, because I was tired from Indian urban traffic. I foolishly trusted the Tripadvisor about what to do in India. But it’s mostly the urban life! Indian villages and nature seems no less attractive, sadly I missed it. One more mistake I learned from. Also it was a bad idea to start from the crazy New Delhi.

Next time I’ll thoroughly dive into many sources to find out what’s interesting in the target country. If I’d go to India again, I would:

  • visit the North (Kashmir, Rishikesh), taking short yoga courses;
  • take more time for beautiful Rajasthan, going to Udaipur and Pushkar;
  • explore some more cities such as Kolkata, Bangalore and Chennai;
  • finish my trip in the south edge, relaxing in Kerala.

8. Urbanism


I haven’t seen yet such crowded places like Indian big cities. There is no place for privacy, even the place to walk freely. In New Delhi you can even be jammed by crowd! Their metro trains come every minute during the peak, but you still cannot freely go to the box! New York City looks like a quiet town after the Delhi.

Other cities like Mumbai and Jaipur is more silent. But noisy atmosphere is still incomparable with European capitals. That’s clear when you look at their population density. This number is 45(!!) times higher than the density in my country.

Also the one “feature” is dirt. When you think your neighborhood is dirty, count that Indian analog is 20-30 times more dirty. I’ve never seen so much dirt yet, so much trash on the road. Many people doesn’t care about pollution, and here is the consequence. You’ll rarely find on the city the trash chute or toilet, maybe it’s not so scary. Just prepare yourself.

Eventually I was definitely tired from Indian urbanism and went to Goa to soak up the sun. The Goa isn’t India at all if we talk about culture, trust me.

9. Festivals


One more Indian feature – festivals. Such holidays are very special. You can’t see similar traditions in other country.

I’ve got the lucky time in India. I’ve been there during the Diwali festival – holiday of light. The landscape you see at night is one of the most pleasant pictures in the world. You can see the light everywhere. You can see happy people wishing you happy holiday. You can hear a lot of bursts from fireworks. It’s not such challenging, but interesting anyway. Here is the picture of Jaipur street during the Diwali.

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10. Caution


Travelling with a backpack, be REALLY careful. You can have a problem, when you’re not careful in crowd and public transport. It’s everywhere, but especially in India.

That way somebody has stolen my phone. Just took it out from my backpack pocket when I arrived to the Mumbai local train station. Probably, it was my mistake to give a chance. So, this kind of failure teached me as sure as the multiple ones I mentioned before. Maybe you’d be better to become security nerd at this trip. When rules suck, you can be free, but bare.

Conclusion


That’s all I want to have from this post: describe the subject in 10 simple thoughts. Frankly speaking, the social subject is much more pleasant for blogging than IT subject. You don’t need to apply explanations for everything you said. Benchmark is not required. Actually you’re not afraid to become a fool. One snag – nobody wants to read your life experience 🙂

P.S.: If somebody asked me about advice to travel through India, I’d say just one. Bring the toilet paper with you! I’m not kidding.

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