We think everybody should go around travelling in India, at least once in their lifetime. And no, it is not for the tourist attractions and the amazing food that India has to offer. Travelling in India will change you for the better. And we give you 9 reasons why:
- Your stomach gets an immunity shot, for life. Make no mistake about it – India has easily one of the best cuisines in the world. Yet, at some point of your travel in India, your tummy will give way. And hell hath no fury like an Indian curry gone bad. The silver lining is, at the end of it all, you can stomach everything the world has to offer from here on.
- Intrusion of privacy won’t bother you anymore. No matter who you are, you will be stared at by the locals and you will come to understand that it usually does not mean ill intent. You will be showered with a lot of personal questions, starting with your marital status. If you are a foreigner, during your stay in India, you will be made to feel like a celebrity thanks to the countless men and women who want to take your photograph. For you to exacerbate this experience, we recommend a night’s travel in a sleeper class train.
- You learn to communicate better. India is a large country with countless local languages and the only languages common to all of India are Cricket and Bollywood. English, especially with a foreign accent, is hardly useful beyond the cities while Hindi does not cut it in the in southern part of India. And the problem is compounded with the famous Indian head shake which can mean anything from a ‘No’ to a ‘Maybe’ to a very confident ‘Yes’. This means, you learn to communicate with the subtle nuances of tone, pitch and hand signs mostly throughout your travel in India. Handy skill to have.
- You learn to negotiate better. For a live demonstration, visit the local market and watch how middle aged Indian ladies negotiate. The thumb rule states that your final offer price should be 50% of the first offer price of the store keeper, unless you are white skinned in which case it is 25%. Needless to say, leave your inhibitions behind while haggling. After all, Indians are usually gregarious and pretty hard to offend.
- It helps you understand contradictions. This is a country leading the world to a new age while it is firmly stuck in time. There is every reason for this country to fail, yet it works somehow, just like the traffic here. There will be times during your travel in India which will inspire you while others will shock you. At the end of your travelling in India, you will finally understand how structure and order perfectly coexist with chaos and randomness.
- You learn to take life as it comes along. Murphy must certainly have been an Indian for no plan goes to plan while travelling in India. The reasons can be many, ranging from the obvious vehicle breakdowns and travel agent miscommunication to the more amusing ones like this. All you need to do is to believe that a magical hand often makes things work in India. Or even better, read point 7
- You learn to be ingenious. In local lingo, you learn to do ‘Jugaad’. The reason why India is one of the emerging economic power houses of the world is the inexplicable knack of the people to make things work… somehow. Mixing with the locals while travelling within India will have this innate quality rub off on you. Trust us, you will need it. Else how will you arrange a sleeping berth for yourself on an overbooked train compartment?
- You learn to appreciate people better. You will meet all types for sure. There will be free riding beggars to the really needy hardworking ones. From the xenophobic to the friendly unsolicited advice givers. The ones who make you feel like pulling your hair out and the ones who truly humble you. No matter who you are, travelling in India and interacting with the locals will leave a lasting impression on you. After all, this is your chance to interact with 1/6th of humanity all at the same time.
- Perspective. All of the above 8 learnings can be encapsulated in this one word. Travelling in India prepares you for life. There is a reason why everybody from the Rudyard Kipling to The Beatles travelled around India. It is the same reason why Elizabeth Gilbert chose to travel in India to write her famous book. You will learn so many things here while being on the road, which no university degree can give you. Ultimately, India will teach you that life is a beautiful adventure that you can make happen.
If you are reading till here, you sure seem excited by the prospect of travelling in India. And when you choose to do so, we recommend you travel with goMowgli on one of our passes. We promise an authentic Indian experience like no other.
Photo Credits: We have used a few photographs from Wikipedia and other online sources with appropriate usage rights.