10.02.2008 - 10.02.2008
There are some very different social customs in India that can be good and bad. One that I was so excited to see was that the women in India do not concern themselves with much make-up or fixing their hair up. I never felt underdressed or the need to put make-up on to go out and about. Another custom I like is that the males in India are very comfortable with each other and you will often see then with their arms around each other while walking along. This is something you just don’t see in America and we should change that.
The women do not do this though. Men and women do not show affection in public here.
Guests are treated very well in India. The service in our hotel has been the best I’ve ever received. But when you go out on the street some of the locals who are poorer see you as if you have money-bags in your hands. You are singled out by beggars and have to shake them off. One of my co-workers had to shoo a little boy away yesterday when we were coming back from lunch. Some of the shopkeepers will say something to the effect of “It’s only $100 American…” when we balk at prices in the stores. That’s really hard to hear when I work very hard for my money and penny-pinch at home. I would actually buy more if they didn’t say things like that.
Now for some of the gross stuff: people here do not use Kleenex. You will see people on the street, blowing their nose onto the ground. I didn’t get a picture of that. There are also people spitting on the street, which I know happens in the states and I still think it’s gross there too (not to mention unattractive!). I also saw people peeing on the side of the road numerous times.
Now here is where the confusing part comes in. I saw a show on India where they were talking about Bollywood, and some of the customs that the movie industry follows. One of the examples was that there is no kissing in movies. I have not see a kiss between a man and women on Indian TV, movies or music videos. Apparently it is seen as dirty…and blowing your nose in the street is not??? And you shouldn’t hold hands in public but peeing on the side of the road is ok. I don’t understand the meaning of some of these customs at all.
While this next item isn’t a custom, you should get used to it if you come to India. You get stared at. All the time. People will turn as they pass you to look at you. And I’m not exactly drawing attention to myself with immodest dress, make-up or fancy hair. We weren’t bothered by it until last Sunday, when we went to the Botanical Gardens here and people were constantly looking at us. I even asked Brenda if I had a stain or something on my face that would draw the attention. All I know is that if I ever feel compelled to stare at someone, I will remember how I felt on Sunday.