With all of the cheap airfares to India that are available today, many people who never would have given India a thought are planning vacations in this most exotic of countries. India may be the only place on the planet where you can see BMWs, Rolls Royce’s, cows and rickshaws all sharing the same space, the perpetual chaos of Indian roads. India has one-sixth of the world’s population and they do not all speak the same language by far; the country has 22 official languages and hundreds of dialects.
If you want to fit in and feel comfortable in India there are a few things that are absolute musts to know and observe:
- It is frowned upon in India for boyfriend and girlfriend to show any outward affection to one another, walking hand in hand or hugging in public is not done. Here’s the twist, this is not an issue with the guys; they often walk holding hands, it’s not a gay thing, it’s just what guys in India do. So, stay away from your girlfriend and hug your buddy all you want.
- You can know as much about baseball as you want but all this knowledge will not impress an Indian guy. Cricket, now a little knowledge about this sport will get you a long way. Try to remember the names of a couple Indian cricket hero’s and figure out what a “duck” is and you’re home and dry.
- Eating sans knives, forks, and spoons is the standard in many parts of India; the hand is the utensil that is most frequently used. A word of warning, never use the left hand, that’s the one used in the toilet.
- Talking about toilets, finding one with toilet paper is almost impossible, even in those that are marked “Western.” Carry a roll of tissue with you and a pack of wet-wipes, while you’re at it, toss in a little flashlight as most toilets are truly dark.
- Do not pay the price asked; bartering is the lifeblood of India, it’s akin to breathing. A simple example; if the vendor asks for 1200 Rs, offer 300 and never pay more than 600.
- Before you leave home to visit your doctor and tell him what you’re planning. Odds are you will be told to take anti-malarial pills. Malarial mosquitoes are not just in the backwaters, they can be found in the big cities as well so take the pills religiously.
India is a marvelous place, you will never tire of the hubbub so look around for cheap airfares to India and start packing.