The first taste of India, 2005

Our first travel together in 2005 took us to India. 

We were expecting Asia, but soon we realized just how wrong we were. 

India is a place that lives its own life, hosting its own breed of a civil ecosystem based in our eyes on chaos. Over a billion people, god knows how many religions, India is as diverse as a place can be.

Somehow in all the confusion, things actually work, in a mysterious Indian way.

India is like a bomb timed to blow off with impressions, every time someone enters its country bounders. 

                                                                                                Bombay- Laundry quarter

India is right up in your face from the beginning, there is no slow start or pause.

We escaped Bombay and traveled the beaten track through Rajasthan. 

Beautiful tourist traps ready to catch the newly arrived tourist, we were the main dish. 

Our time in India included:

Getting taken around Bombay in search for an Internet cafe only to realize that we were taken on a sightseeing to the outskirts of Bombay.

  • Developing an understanding (exaggerated) for the daily non stop use of the Indian Horn. In India when a person buys a car the first thing they check  is the function of the horn and sound, the rest is not as important. The sound of the indian horn are creative, to put it mildly. 

  • Having had  a package sewn ( too much shopping) with fabric, thread, needle and wax to keep the parcel together, only to learn about the Festivals and the closure of government establishments. Traveling with this package for 2 days in the dust of Rajastan before finally realizing that if you are cast less in India you wait much longer in queue at the Post office.

  • Eating delicious, spicy food and the next day pay the price spending it in the bathroom of an Indian guesthouse. 

  • Never to trust a fart in India, especially if you have white trousers and no toilet paper

  • Seeing the end of Ramadan in the Thar desert, while experiencing the muslim intolerance towards the hindu, and not being able to intervene due to a 1000 praying muslims.

  • To understand why not to ask more than one person, ideally no one, for directions. 

  • To take a step back, Indians have no sense of my space your space.

  • Infuriating Indians, by wiggling our head like they do.

  • A beggar earns more than a rickshaw driver. 

  • Never to trust the travel agency where you buy the bus ticket, It’s never the bus on the photo.

  • Always fight to get off at the right place when traveling by bus.

  • Getting married by a Brahmin in Udaipur.

  • Indian decoration lights like our christmas lights but here they are kept all year. 

  • How the cast system are limiting the development of the 2nd largest nation in the world.

  • It’s ok to show your belly but it is not ok to show your shoulders.

  • The Chai performance in the streets.

  • A special lassi for breakfast makes a special day indeed.

  • India is full of Rats, the only place that has little rats are famously called the Rat temple.

  • Don’t get fooled by Deluxe hotels paid by the hour.

  • Never trust your Camel driver, he might fool you, but the beetles in the Thar desert are not made for a nights sleeping.

  • Shanti, shanti an expression that never got to us.

  • Flowers, incense, lights, posters of Hindu gods all cramped together in the front window of busses and trucks,how they actually manage to see anything, is another Indian mystery.

The near change of mind we had in Amritsar, Punjab and the Golden temple was not enough to convince us, and instead of continuing we made our way to Nepal.

We should have given it more time. But like we often do in our society today, we took the easy way out.

We left before Mother India could show her real face, it would be another five years before she would lure us back.

But in Penang, George town, in the district of Little India, she got us.

The music, the tatty Bollywood posters, the buttery dosas served in a bananaleaf, it was really that easy to get us coming back.

Maybe she knew it all along, maybe she just wanted to give us all the time we needed, when we were ready she was there waiting for us.