Since India is a country with wide cultural variations:
Where do you live?
Where did you grow up?
What is your mother tongue?
Are you Muslim, Hindu, or other?
How old are you?
What kind of work do you do?
Indians value family ties a lot . Typically , that one month will be spent like this
4 days - travelling
2 days - sleeping , adjusting to time zones.
10 days will be spent at home ( with parents/siblings etc.) , 10 days visiting your relations /sightseeing/ seeing old friends and delivering those parcels their indian friends back in U.S want to send to their parents back in india. plus they may visit temples /churches. ( some people come for annual pigrimage to temples in southern states )
Ms Indian and I have cousins and fiends in U.S.A and the above norm holds .
I think long visits help them to recharge better than say 3 visits of 10 days a year .
When I was in Delhi, the poverty and deprivation that was visible everywhere was excruciating for me, from the west, where such sights aren’t common at all.
Presuming (since you clearly have very good English and an internet connection) you’re from the middle class, how do you cope with seeing such suffering every day? Is it something one just gets used to?
I come from the upper middle class and had a privilaged life so far .
Yeah ! It saddens me too . India has 1.2 billion people now , and economic prosperity is unfortunately being limited to certain industrialised pockets. You will see posh hotels, and KFC outlets etc. in cities and barely 4 hours from those cities you will see farmers commiting sucide, as their crop failedand they cannot pay back the money they borrowed.
Honest , I am immune to it , since I am in the midst of it , reading it every day in papers.
I personally believe , Industrialisation is the key to inclusive economic prosperity. India is catching up , and the benefits will finally flow to the lower strata of society.
I had a very good friend who was originally from Kerala. He moved with his family to Chennai before he himself moved to the US. He was a Christian, too. Is it true that Kerala has a larger proportion of Christians than most areas of India?
How big are the towns where you grew up and where you live now?
I’m curious whether you’ve seen Mira Nair’s film Salaam Bombay, and what the reaction was there.
I think I’m going to enjoy your answers on this thread. I’ve had many friends and coworkers from India, but none from the Mumbai area. My own visit to India was limited to the North.
Thanx ! India is a very vast place with 14 official languages ,( actually spoken languages is in excess of 2000 or so ) different cultures,religions etc… Mumbai is a truly cosmopolitan city and a melting pot of all cultures.
I’ve read that most pet dogs are fed a meatless diet in India, but commercially available vegetarian dog food is quite new.
I’m just wondering, because pet food manufacturers never seem to get tired of touting that “only their new, specially improved premium choice meat formulation can provide the best balance of proteins, vitamins, minerals, oils and dietary fibre that actively contribute to a shiny coat, healthy skin, excellent digestion”, and so on…
I mean, if this isn’t 99% marketing-speak, all your dogs over there must be deathly sick and butt ugly.
Is the average middle class citizen cooking for their family dogs? (I know there are lots of strays too. Let’s focus on dogs that someone cares for.) Or do they just get leftovers? Can you get pre-mixed bags from the supermarket?
Doggie gets what is cooked at home , and the left over food. Mostly it is left over food in rural areas. some households do cook additional food for doggies… These dogs are pretty healthy , and they do bark n bite…
. I am not very knowledgable on this vegetarian pet food , sorry …
I’m sure it’s not all marketing-speak, but our dogs do quite well on a mostly vegetarian diet, with lots of protein in the form of processed soya. They also get dog biscuits, which contain meat, and some cod-liver oil to make up for some vitamins which can’t be found in their food, which is mostly soya, rice and vegetables, partly cooked, some raw.
You can indeed get pre-mixed dog food from the supermarket (in cities) but I’m not sure it’s vegetarian. Standard dog food is easy enough to find, and we do sometimes mix in a bit of that with their home-made food, mostly because they like it, but they seem to be pretty healthy without that. Four generations of dogs now, all of whom have lived to a ripe old age.
I’m considering visiting northern India, specifically Himachal Pradesh, J & K, and Punjab. Coming from north america, how would you recommend getting there? Would I want to fly into New Delhi and take a bus from there, or is there a more efficient method?
I grew up and live in Bangalore, and speak Kannada at home. My family is Hindu, but since my parents and I are not religious, I usually describe myself as agnostic/atheist. I’m 27, working for a software consultancy firm.
In a way, you get used to it. It’s all around you, and you learn to cope. It does weigh heavily on my conscience; more so at some times than others, and I’ve tried to give away a reasonable percentage of my income to poverty and disaster relief, but that’s really a drop in the bucket in the end. I was just talking last night with a friend, and I realised that desperate poverty in the cities is not really seen any more - you used to be able to see malnutrition and starvation on the streets. This is a hopeful sign, and poverty is definitely decreasing, although too slowly, and still exists in rural areas.
Personally speaking, it’s something I try *not *to get used to. I don’t want to be numbed to this and just accept it as normal and part of life. Of course, mere moral outrage doesn’t change anything, but I think that tolerance of poverty like this is entirely unacceptable.
I hope you are not looking at 5 star hotels and pesonalised chauffer driven solo tours .
Fly into New Delhi . There are plenty of tour operators available in Carol bagh area of Delhi ( You can stay there and do some shopping etc…). They are good , relatively cheaper ( than what 5 star hotels might offer you ). Plus you get to interact a lot with Indians .
I have seen they offer good package tours with accomodation in decent hotels. Most of the travel will be by road ( recommended).
Many tour operators include J & K also in their programme now. I suggest you google for some good tour operators in Delhi beforehand.
North India will be freezing in winter ( lesser extent than north america )
I know the rumor mill is rampant there. Disgustingly so. Does it happen in upper class, too, or is the upper class sort of exempt?
When my uncle came to the States not too long ago he told me of some of the rampant corruption.
Is it true the police are not to be trusted as often as not?
Do they truly keep rich people for ransom, if arrested or taken in?
Are bribes necessary for the simplest of things?
What do Indians as a whole think of the U.S.?
Of U.S. citizens?
Of ex-patriates, people who move away from India?
Is this any nearer to being accepted?
Tell us about hijra. Everything you can, please.
Is lesbianism even heard of?
How active is the average Indian citizen in politics?
Is there a lot of resentment from non-Hindus when the country is referred to as Hindustan? I admit as a Hindu and as a speaker of Hindi I do refer to it this way.
Are votes paid for?
I’m sure I have more, but that’s a start, I think, and that encompasses a huge portion of the culture! Also, please feel free to share anything else you like to. I’ll be back with more when you answer these.
Oh, one more thing. Dervorin - do you speak Hindi?