Instagram feed

15 November 2013

What Do I Expect from India?

I'm in the train, on my way from Düsseldorf to Frankfurt airport, to catch my flight to India. What better time to gather my thoughts and reflections on what might happen on this trip.

What do I expect from India? Everyone I talk to has been telling me several things: (1) "You're going to have a such great experience!"; (2) "You're going to get so sick!"; and (3) "I'm so jealous! Put me into your luggage!" So, if I was to base my expectations entirely from my friends' suggestions, I would expect to get serious diarrhea but really enjoy it and have such a great time! I never realized that my friends enjoyed getting diarrhea so much :)

But honestly, I have been too preoccupied (with work mostly) to fully wrap my head around what I'm about to experience. Only last night did it really hit me, when we had a work presentation whose topic was (believe it or not) "Discover India"! I have been really excited since then. I'm now frantically reading through my 1200-page Lonely Planet guide to India, at least getting some background on the history and cultures of this ancient and immense land.

India will be the most "foreign" place I have ever visited, especially alone. It's much more difficult to get by there than any European country. And that is exactly the point: I expect to be challenged. I expect to be hassled on the street, standing out as a tourist. I expect to be saddened and disgusted by the level of poverty. I expect to have amazing food and that my digestive tract will pay the price. I expect to be dazzled by the spectacle of an Indian wedding, and the wedding of a great friend of mine at that! I expect to be happy to meet my friends on the other side of the world. I expect to see places and sights whose history I can't even begin to comprehend!

But there is so much more that I can't even imagine at this point. I want to see firsthand how people will respond to me walking by on the street. How do shops and markets work? How is the relationship between the genders really? How would I fit in? ... These "hows," and many others, cannot be answered from any guide book, YouTube video, or TV show. It can only come from spending time in a country and letting go of yourself and your comfort zone. That - understanding really how people and the way of life are, is what I want to get out of this trip.

More specifically, there are so many questions that I am just wondering now: Is it really as dirty there as I have heard? If you can't drink the water, can you bathe in it, or brush your teeth? Are there neighborhoods that are fully modern and westernized? Are the streets full of more cars or motorbikes? How big are the streets anyway? Are there even street signs? (I just remembered that traffic drives on the left, another thing to adjust to!) How much will I stand out as a foreigner (who sometimes looks sort of Indian)?

India has 1.2 billion people.


Delhi alone has 16 million people. I have a hard time comprehending that scale of humanity. Germany, and even the US, seem much less significant when contrasted with those numbers! How can you even keep such a big country together? How is the rest of the world viewed? Especially Europeans and Americans? Will I be able to even get a burger? Is there really no beef anywhere?

I'll see soon enough! Time to get ready for my flight. YEAHHHHH HERE WE GO!

No comments:

Post a Comment