It doesn’t matter if you like India or not, but after the trip, you will divide your life into Before and After. Traveling to India was perhaps the most useful trip in my life and even has changed my value system. This article is about 7 lessons I learned in India.
1. Loneliness, silence, and peace are a wealth
The taxi just slows down at the gate of the station, and dozens of hungry, entrepreneurial eyes rush at you: buy it! I’ll be your guide! give me money! The worst thing is to look for a taxi without wifi (I used Uber in any possible situation) – you go outside and get into the stream of sellers, beggars and it’s absolutely crazy. Everyone is touching you, trying to sell and impose something. All this makes you dizzy. Also, every Hindu considers it his duty to photograph a white man, they may not even ask, just take a with you.
On the last night of the trip, I fell asleep in a quiet room of a 5-star hotel and with panic imagined that tomorrow I would have to go outside again.
2. Check what you eat. Keep clean
If in Thailand you can drink fruit smoothies near the road, then in India I wanted to walk in rubber gloves. Before the trip, they told me that you can be poisoned simply by eating chips with your bare hands. We bought a sanitizer and after each touch with anything, we cleaned our hands. Brushed teeth only with bottled water. I have never been that focussed on the cleanliness in my life.
In India, every second someone approaches you and asks for money or food. Poverty here is literally in the air. There are so many beggars that at one point you stop feel compassion and start to be irritated and feel indifference. In India, I learned to say “No”.
4. Do not show legs
I wore short shorts in all the Arabic countries: Turkey, Egypt and even UAE despite their dress code, catching hungry looks and whistles. But I never wanted to hide all my body, as I wanted in India. Here they stare differently… So I had to walk being wrapped in a blanket to hide from these condemn curious looks.
At the very beginning of the trip, I recommend buying a pair of Indian trousers for 100 rupees. Firstly, they will look good in the photo with Indian temples. Secondly, morning and evening in the north of the country are pretty cool, and hot during the day – these pants will save in both situations. And thirdly, nobody will stare at your feet.
5. Poverty does not mean dishonor
At the beginning, I was walking hugging my phone and a bag. But then I realized, I’m not in Brazilian favelas: in India, you are unlikely to be robbed. Begging – yes. What I noticed is how desperately the Indians are trying to make money. The seller in the market will follow you through all the ranks, just to give the goods at any price. The taxi driver will not shut up until he sells you a day tour in Mumbai. Everyone will be ready to wash your shoes, handle your bags. They will be happy doing any work. Not just happy, having a job will make an Indian very happy.
Along the roads, thousands of people live in cardboard boxes, or just sleep on a linen sheet. Early in the morning, we took a taxi from Jaipur Airport to the center, and I was watching through the window as the city was waking up. First of all, people brush their teeth and sweep their homes, even if they live in a box.
That is, they are poor, but poverty is not a reason to fall. Hindus believe that if they live this life with dignity, then in the next they will necessarily be reborn into happiness and prosperity.
6. Moscow traffic jams are nothing
Traffic jam in India is like trading in an eastern bazaar. Klaxons, music, cars, tuk-tuks, people, beggars, dogs, and cows – they all go in the directions forward, backward, across the road and even diagonally. In the cities of India, it is absolutely difficult to walk But if you are by car, get ready to stand in traffic jams.
7. Appreciate what you have.
The rich in India are fabulously rich, but leaving their palaces, they find themselves in … India … I am happy that I was born in a prosperous family, I live in Europe and I can just go outside and breathe fresh air. I am happy that I can have a hot shower, do not starve. I am happy that I can read and can travel. Now I appreciate it because I saw a life they have in India.
Poverty is a vice of almost every country. But, it is in India that it is impressive how poor one can be. Children play in a pile of garbage, families live right on the rails of the railway, they do not look unhappy. They don’t even know what could be otherwise. And so like that, they live from generation to generation.
5 interesting facts about India
- In India, you can enter the airport building only with a ticket and it must be printed. If you have already entered the airport, then they will not let you go outside.
- You need to arrive at the airport for at least 3-4 hours before your flight. These are the slowest controls in my life.
- For a 1.5-hour taxi ride, we paid about 5$, for a Hilton hotel – 70$, a personal car with a driver for 1 day – 30$.
- In India, you can feel the English past (India was an English colony): train models, 2 sink taps in some cities, and English architecture (especially in Mumbai). And many people speak English.
- In India, it is not customary to use toilet paper among the locals, so in any toilet you will see a decanter for washing and a tap from where you can pour water.
10 advices to those who want to travel to India
- Do not save on hotels.
- Try mango lassi and masala tea.
- Don’t go in open shoes; a rat almost crawled over me in Mumbai.
- At the beginning of the trip, buy Indian trousers. Save from the cold in the morning, will be a great attribute for a photo and cover your legs.
- Go to the market. Bargaining in the bazaars of India is very exciting. We discounted the price from 2000 rupees to 100 rupees.
- Take a ride on the train. It will be unforgettable. Don’t forget to purchase tickets online.
- After the trip, watch “Slumdog Millionaire” and compare the movie with reality.
- Contact me for advice on planning your travel itinerary. Because everything that I found on the internet is either yoga tours or the “golden triangle”. But India needs something else.
- Read my article about the day in Agra.
- And finally, be sure to go to India. This trip will turn your life upside down.
What to visit in India?
The most common trip around India is named “golden triangle” that includes 3 cities: Dehli, Agra, and Jaipur.
Our trip was Goa – Mumbai – Jaipur – Agra – Dehli. We traveled by trains, boats, and planes.
For the first time in India, I would recommend you to have a vacation in Goa and purchase a day or two days-tour to the Taj Mahal (Agra)i. And then you will see and decide if you want to see more in this very specific country.
If I could change my trip I would definitely visit Agra and Mumbai and then head to Goa and relax. Read my next article about my visit to the Taj Mahal.