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Readers Respond: Your Reaction to India Culture Shock

Responses: 37


I loved it and my fears were unfounded.

I've spent a lot of time in Egypt and expected India to be similar. I was pleasantly surprised -- the traffic is much less aggressive in India and the people selling things aren't allowed far inside the doors of tourist attractions, so you can eventually get away from them (unlike at the Pyramids). The level of garbage is about the same, and as the people are mostly Hindu not Muslim, women can dress very colorfully (though still modestly). Unfortunately the fastest way to get rid of street hawkers violates our Western social norms -- you have to ignore them UTTERLY. Don't say no, don't look or speak to them at all. Just keep walking. If you speak to them they've already won a victory: they have your attention. There are no sidewalks, so everybody must use the roads -- pedestrians, cows, bicycles, rickshaws, cars, buses, trucks, camels... it seems chaotic but it's actually quite democratic. Everything just flows (slowly) around everything else, like fish in a school.
—Guest EWAdams


I am from Mexico so I thought I knew what a 3rd world country was. When I stepped in India the first time, it was the noise that caught me. The incessant honking drained my will to visit many places. I was happy to see there was no staring (since I am brown and hispanic) but ppl thought I was from North East India (while in Bangalore). Also, the amount of vegetarian food available and the lack of hygiene of meat products I saw. No wonder ppl prefer being vegetarian. The most shocking was to see a couple of middle-aged women urinating in public in Delhi and men just about everywhere. The poverty was a shock in Agra. And going to a shope to find out too many ppl doing one person job and pushing the hard sale and thinking they know better than the customer. And the shoe removing to shops where the floor is dirty was a shock as well.
—Guest Anilu

Shocking responses

To the guide Sharell and other Guests: My Good friend Palette has mentioned about noise, yes it is noisy here especially when you're in Mumbai. You live in Australia which is as big as India and yet Mumbai has more people than Oz :D. Lack of education is to be blamed here. It used to be 10-15 children per family back in 90's but now it is strictly down to 2-3 even in villages. Guest Deidre has mentioned that it's Bizarre that India portrays itself as a super power. Well it may be bizarre now but we are getting there sooner than later. We are young, we are energetic, we have just turned 63 today. BTW, how old is Independent America? (223 years?) The britishers have taken away all our wealth and it takes time to build that wealth. But we will be right up there. Remember we are world's 12th most rich country now. I have a lot to say but the space isn't allowing me to do so.
—Guest Sriraj

The Head Wobble

I travel nearly every week and because I'm available to go anywhere, I pretty much get to go anywhere. This week I'm in Bangalore, my first trip to India and it's great. I'm in a fabulous hotel where they just don't realize I'm a left-coast transplanted Hoosier, and they treat me like royalty, or at least some highbrow magazine reviewer. My second day and I can't get over the head wobble, it's comical but terribly distracting. Thanks about.com for explaining it for me! Oh, and because I travel all the time, more often than not, I'm in unfamiliar surroundings. So I just go with that, and it's all good: My life is an endless succession of pleasant experiences and encounters!
—Guest onehipdad

Staring and Hassling

One of the things that got to me the most (at first anyway) was people constantly staring - I'm a blonde, pale, blue eyed girl. But after a few days you get used to it and it doesn't bother you as much. People hassling you all the time to buy things and go places can be a bit annoying, but if you're are friendly and say no and they keep doing it, just saying NO loudly and then ignoring them usually works.
—Guest Sami

Not So Incredible India

We traveld to 5 cities in India and found the enitre country to be a full-frontal assault on your senses. The worst was Mumbai where the filth and degredation is completely appalling. This is the filthiest place I have ever seen. Half of this country could be put to wotk just clening up the mess. And shame on the higher levels of soiety for overlooking this horrilble garbage heap of a city. I expected third-world but not the consumate filth and slum consitions everywhere in Mumbai. Delhi was somewhat more civilized with a lot more to see. The drive to Agra was an real eye-opener and moving on to Hyderabad and Bangalore we only slightly less disgusting. That this country portrays itself as a world power is truly bizzare.
—Guest Deidre

Culture Shock in India

Three things instantly came to my mind as I read this Culture Shock in India article. 1. The noise. My first day in Mumbai nearly sent me crazy with the honking of horns, constant and loud, I just wanted to shout KEEP QUIET but then realised, this is India, this is not my quiet little country town in Australia, this is why I am here - to experience India and surprisingly by the end of that day I hardly heard the horns honking at all. 2. Due to the lack of sanitation I was really shocked to see just how clean the people were and their clothes were immaculate, white was white, no shades of grey or yellowing to be seen. 3. Girls if you are looking for a man, Mumbai is the place to go, I was totally shocked with the amount of men not just here and there but everywhere.
—Guest Palette

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