First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. - Mahatma Gandhi
India is an exotic, diverse and colourful country where over 1.25 billion people live. Though our global perception continues to improve with economic growth, every now and then, foreign folks who are new to Indian culture ask us some random, out-of-the-blue questions about India that make us laugh.
There's so much more to India than snake-charmers, elephants and curries. Let’s clear it out for those folks who plan to visit us.
India a Land of HindusTotally untrue. If you had come to this conclusion, with the name Hindustan, it was coined by the Arabs. What they meant was ‘Industan’, which means the land beyond Indus River. We have our Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain, Zoroastrian and even atheist brothers and sisters, not just Hindus.
Do we speak Indian?Nope! Though it would be nice to have a common language called ‘Indian’, unfortunately we do not have one. We speak many languages in India, may be too many, but none of that is called Indian. We do speak English with a cute little Indian accent. But that does not qualify as ‘Indian’ either. Sorry.
Indians’ have funny accentCan you even deny that non-native country speakers have an accent? Funny? We think the other way around! We love our accent because we do not have to roll our Rs. BTW you are welcome to try the 122 major languages and 1599 other languages and dialects in India without any accent.
India kind of smells funnyNot funny. How can an entire country smell bad? As like anywhere else, some areas may smell funny (We are working on the prevalence of public urination), some areas have aromas divinely (the smell that comes is from freshly made breakfast mixed with the smell of Incense Sticks). Come to India to know.
India is swelteringly hot everywhereThe sheer size and expanse of our country should tell you the geographical facts. Call it a land of strikingly opposing landscapes and climates. Not all places in India scorch under the hot summer sun, we enjoy a perfectly whitewashed with snow kind of winter too.
India is covered in dirty slumsSlums do not constitute most the country’s demographics. Movies showcase only the slums to depict their plot. You’ll be surprised to find some of the most lavish villas here, that can make you go green with envy. While at it, doesn’t even the continent of America house slums?
Indians can charm Snakes naturallyA major part of the world has a misconception that there are snake charmers all over the pavements of India. The truth - Most major cities are now elephant and snake charmer free and the scene of a cobra dancing to the tune of a charmer is very, very rare. No thanks to Indiana Jones.
Indian Food is Crazy SpicyOur exotic cuisine is rich in flavour, spices and taste, but no, not every dish Indians eat is curry based and will make you run to the loo. Ever tried Idli, Dhokla, Parathas or calming curd rice which is a cool dip for your tummy? If you want food on the blander side, do inform the waiter in advance, we are happy to oblige.
We Indians believe in ‘Atiti Devo Bhava’ – A Guest is equivalent to God.