• love hate relationship with india

Love Hate Relationship With india

“For each terrible horrible encounter in India, an equally opposite encounter will follow.”

I am certain that this should be a law of physics in India. This is what drives the cliché Indian/westerner debacle… the love hate relationship with India. Almost every traveller I have met that spent an extensive amount of time in India explains their feelings for the country as “sometimes I loved it and others I hated it”. I agree with that sentiment, as sometimes I loved moments so much I cried tears of gratitude and happiness. Other times I cried tears of anger and frustration over the differences in this country or even because I’d gotten so sick from water or food.

love hate relationship with indiaLove this. everyone eating together at the Golden Temple, regardless of caste // Amritsar

love hate relationship with indiaThe traffic gets old fast. (As I am editing this I’m thinking, no the traffic isn’t that bad… perfect example of me loving it now, but hating it then!)

Now as an expat I still experience this phenomenon, though for completely different reasons. Rarely I might meet a traveler who was the Master of  Zen; as in nothing bothered them and they loved India, Every. Single. Part. Of. It.

There was also the handful of exasperated people. They had boiling blood, they hated the men, the traffic, the cows… you name it- they hated it. They were ready to go home.

Most people were somewhere in the middle, “oh my god IF I HEAR ANOTHER HORN I WILL- oh, look at that cute cow! Aww it’s just a baby!”

I warn you, this post will start on the hate side of this relationship… If you make it to the end you’ll see the love. There is a lot to love.

love hate relationship with indiaIt’s cute when a cow licks it’s lips, or runs.. or even lays down. They don’t even have to try. 

love hate relationship with indiaIt’s not cute when the hotel manager lights cow dung on fire to keep away mosquitos.

I can still remember my first day in India. I arrived in Bombay international airport to that now all too familiar scent of “old”.  I was going to stay with Elise, an Aussie I’d found on couchsurfing (she’s a blogger too!). I thought staying with a westerner the first few days would ease me in (it did).

I was ready for Bombay.

That was until I got outside. The amount of people waiting was inconceivable! The taxi drivers begging, some even pulling my arm a bit so I’d take their cab. These circumstances are about the only time I take a pre-paid taxi.

No Indians believe me when I say this, but my pre-paid taxi in the airport ripped me off! Airports are supposed to be a safe-zone, a place to get a true price on pre-pay taxis. I paid 250 rs for a ride within Andheri East. From international airport to a house near the Unilever office, about 4 minute ride, should have cost me maybe 80 rs. This was my first realization I couldn’t trust anyone. I tipped the driver the 50 rs he asked for. Silly me.

love hate relationship with indiaBut little faces like these will cheer you right back up.

The second blow (big blow) was a scam that was almost ran on me in Delhi, involving a employee of the train station, a rickshaw driver, a fake office, and a police officer. They worked together like a well-oiled machine until this little blonde girl went ballistic on them. The police officer was of absolutely zero assistance as he stood by at the door.

I base the safeness of cities off of a simple question: can I trust the police? The answer in Delhi (and most of India) is no. This is why women sometimes don’t tell the police when they’ve been raped. Police might play the blame game.

Tourists take advantage of this. They bribe if they get pulled over without a license or helmet, or someone could bribe if they get caught with drugs. Rumor has it; you could kill someone and bribe your way out of it. Scary thought.

love hate relationship with india

Most issues happen in big cities. My most frustrating times in India involve transportation.  It can take 20 minutes to find a driver willing to use their meter in a taxi/rickshaw. “But miss, it is broken” yeah, right. In Bombay it is the law now that they must use a meter. Usually a quick reminder of that will magically fix the meter.

The driver also seems to conveniently never have change.  “Nice tip madam?” I hear after each ride as the driver smiles with his hands out. Ok, you already are getting a tip because you “have no change” and drove me the longest way to my destination so forget it. At shops they don’t have change, but that is different. That is adorable. Instead of 5 rs you will get some candy or gum!

love hate relationship with india

You cannot trust someone who asks where you are going. Maybe they are sincere, but most times they aren’t. They want to help you find the place so they can make you feel guilty enough to tip them. Even when I say no because I know where I’m going, I am often followed and still begged for a tip for their nonexistent help.

This is not annoying on the streets, but it is frustrating in places like the airport where even employees are constantly asking for tips. There are signs up in the airports to not tip employees. I have been aggressively yelled at in Mumbai for not tipping an employee near the shuttle bus.

Its not about the small amount of money, it’s the fact that so many people are looking at me like I’m their ATM. After too many scams I became weary of everyone.

love hate relationship with indiaYou better use a little elbow if you think you’re getting in these doors!

When I was lost in Bombay, having gotten off the wrong stop of the slow local (man that train is an experience to say the least), a young girl came up asking if I needed help. The girl and her friends were waiting for the next train, looking adorable in their school uniforms. I told her I was headed to Andheri East by local bus. She absolutely insisted on leaving her friends and escorting me there.

She would not take a cent from me even when I pleaded with her to take some. She had gone out of her way, left her friends, and wasted her money to help me get where I was going. The Law of Indian Physics in action.

The other frustration is drivers completely ignoring where you want to go and taking you to wherever they feel like. “She wants to go to the Taj Hotel, I know it very well!  I’ll take her to my cousins ex-husbands hotel instead though”. Maybe they will say the hotel you wanted to go to is on fire, is no good, or shut down. They get commissioned to take you to hotels they know.

Don’t even think about not paying them for scamming you; it’s a fight you don’t want to start. There have been very few times I have blatantly told the driver to f*ck off and left the car without paying. I only do this when it is a massive scam AND he’s really mean and I’m beyond pissed off. Occasionally, I give the driver a 500, he quickly switches out for a 50 and says I’m cheating him. It’s enough to make someone crazy.

love hate relationship with indiaThis was cute, until I got seriously yelled at for taking a photo by the sneaky man walking behind while in Udaipur

The point of this rant is to explain why foreigners feel frustration almost to the point of hatred in India and unfortunately toward Indians. Combine the rip-offs with the “eve-teasing” and it could make you go mental.

I have rode buses alone all over India, many times with only men as fellow riders. I usually feel safe (here are 14 tips for solo travelers), and have never worried that something will happen to me. I am getting used to the stares but as a newbie in India you should be warned that in areas where men don’t see westerners a lot, some will STARE. As in, to the point where you are uncomfortable, like maybe they are stealing your soul.

Asking them to stop does not work. They will turn around in their seats to gape at you for hours on end. Taking photos, videotaping, and laughing to their friends. I like to think they are curious and that because I smile back and don’t yell at them, that is why I stay safe. That’s probably bullshit though and I am just lucky.Whenever I do feel unsafe while alone, I make a scene which always throws the men offand I leave the situation immediately, even if that means getting off the bus.

Each time I feel I am taken advantage of, it seems the very next day a stranger will help me when I don’t deserve their help.

Ok, now I’m done with the hate side… on to the love!

I will be angry with India and my van will break down to top it off.  Without asking, a shop owner whips out a screwdriver and fixes the battery, not asking for a tip (that’s a sure fire way to get a tip from me!).

love hate relationship with indiaIt’s so amazing to be completely submersed in another culture, also in Udaipur

A table of boys will stare and take pictures of me while I’m eating dinner, but later a man will genuinely smile and wave at me as a drive by. (Or maybe he’s trying to hail a taxi, I can hardly tell anymore).

I have been brought to tears seeing traditional dances, festivals, and beautiful scenery. Complete strangers have helped me with luggage, directions, and fixing everything I break all over India.

Families want to take pictures of me holding their baby, or shaking the father of the families’ hand, which I still find funny. I have laughed as an entire bus of kids on a field trip lined up to get a photo with me.

One day a driver may rip me off, but the next a driver may hand me a samosa as a treat and ask me to tell him about America.

love hate relationship with india

I went to Mapusa Market with 3 things on my to do:

  1. Get my watch fixed that I’d fallen on and smashed
  2. Get a dress taken in
  3. Have a leather-dude fix my leather purse strap

I asked the watch repairman how much. He said, “Whatever you like”. The seamstress stopped what she was doing, fixed it on the spot and said, “Whatever you like”. She got double because I inconvenienced her. The Leather dude didn’t even want to be paid (he still got some cash, don’t worry).

This is India. A loving, caring, confusing, but sometimes-scary place.  I’ve been here on and off a year and I still can’t explain India.

love hate relationship with indiaIt’s a little like this (it’s so cute you love them but then there’s some trash and you’re a little scared you might get sick). PS I love pigs, so I’m saying this as in: the pigs actually are cute, not in a negative way.

India is a truly magical place.

People come to “find peace” or “find themselves” and at first it proves challenging as there are so many frustrations surrounding us visitors. It is so important to shake off the bad things that people do; forget the guy who scammed you and give the day a fresh start.

The frustrations will NOT go away. You will not change a culture built into the lives of over a billion.

As a visitor, it is your personal attitude that must change.

love hate relationship with india Tourists were separated from Indians at Wagah border to Pakistan. Is this to keep us safe? So we can have better seats? Or they don’t want to sit by us? Who knows. It’s India. Just go with it.

Don’t be a pushover, but don’t let someone get you to the point of feeling hatred toward an entire country. I struggled with this SO much my first 2 months in India. It’s hard to learn to have patience and let go of anger even in an ashram in Rishikesh while you can hear honking cars nonstop from down below, reminding you of the chaos the ashram walls are blocking out.

Now my frustrations are more about the pace in which people work, offices closing whenever they feel like it, and other small issues that are just different than what I’m used to in America. Being an expat isn’t the easiest. Once you let go of the frustration, and find a way (I use meditation) of dealing with the differences of this crowded country, you will find a new appreciation for all that surrounds you on the sub-continent!

 

 

2017-07-03T15:33:13+00:00

About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing to live on the beaches of Goa, India almost four years ago where she is now a travel writer. Her website gives advice on the 35+ countries she's been to but has become the go-to site for India travel, focusing on offbeat places & “glamorous travel”. Hippie in Heels has been featured in ELLE magazine, Tripadvisor, and Thomas Cook. Her blog is one of the top 50 travel blogs in the world based on traffic. She also enjoys writing for BravoTV.

63 Comments

  1. Agness January 31, 2014 at 10:55 am - Reply

    I totally understand you. Most of people who travel to India hate the scams, traffic and locals being so pushy. Travelling there for more than a week sounds like a challenge so I admire you for living there for such a long time. I have the same “love and hate” relationship with China and it’s something normal to each expat.

    • Rachel Jones February 1, 2014 at 8:04 am - Reply

      Happy that you relate! I would love to go to China one day but it’s never been somewhere I’m intensely drawn to

  2. Alex @ ifs ands & butts January 31, 2014 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    I cannot wait to get my butt to India, but I imagine it’d be much easier to shake these things off short term as “part of the experience” rather than handle it longterm as an expat. You have a great outlook!

    • Rachel Jones February 1, 2014 at 8:05 am - Reply

      It definitely took some getting used to! I have very few “hate” days now, I don’t think I have been as frustrated as I was as a tourist for about 6 months. My boyfriend has been here over 3 years so he’s really used to it now!

  3. Wendy Fairie Robinson January 31, 2014 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    yes, yes, yes! oh how right you are… the scams and the stares…. and the complete culture shock of ‘going outside”! or, that moment when arriving somewhere new on a bus and suffering all the touts that get on and being surrounded by them once you step off the bus…. and everyone asking… ‘is this your first time in India??’ i got so good at bartering for a tuck tuck and would just walk away so many times until they gave me the price i wanted… even if i was dripping with sweat (i went during the monsoons) and my bag was heavy i would just pretend not to care! one experience that i found really hard, (harder than having my boob grabbed in the taj mahal) was when i was at a train station waiting for a train with my boyfriend when a group of girls aged around 14-16 came over to us and verbally abused me and then one of the bigger girls started swiping me with her dirty scarf in my face. if they had been blokes i could have made a scene and would have but because they were young girls i didn’t know what to do… i also, was feeling really tired and emotional that day… and yet, like you say…. someone else will really surprise you in a good way… life is a balance… love this post, really honest… may you enjoy the rest of your time in India.

    • Rachel Jones February 1, 2014 at 8:07 am - Reply

      Walking around looking for a place to stay, or tuk tuk with a heavy backpack in the heat = there is nothing worse!! That’s so weird about those girls and the scarf! I’ve never seen girls/women act out of line here. Thanks for commenting :)

  4. Colleen Brynn January 31, 2014 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    Another super helpful post… I’m loving these. I’m so glad I’ve found your blog for this reason. Keep ’em coming!

  5. Lucy February 1, 2014 at 9:31 pm - Reply

    You said it perfectly near the end: You can not change the country or the culture – it is YOU who must change. For me, that was a very challenging thing. But I did change. And I realized it was okay to be different than you “would be” if you were back home. But it is not home. It was very hard for me to realize that it was okay to cry (a lot) while I was there even though that is something I never did before or after really. Adaptation is key to living in India and then you will see the beauty and wonderful (yet sometimes very irritating) things around you. It is a love-hate relationship that is impossible to describe to people who have not been there. I hate getting asked “Oh, how was India?”. Totally impossible question to answer, although a friend of mine always says “It was intense” which is a good response I think.

    Thank you for your post, thoughts, and reflections. For the most part, my experience was very similar – except for the tipping, I did not have that very much at all.

    • Rachel Jones February 2, 2014 at 12:12 pm - Reply

      “it was intense” is a good answer! I have no clue how to answer that question either because I’d never be able to explain what it’s like here! It’s something that has to be lived, although the book Holy Cow does a pretty good job conveying it!

  6. Chuck February 2, 2014 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    It’s well know that you can bribe the police if you killed someone. I know of a high up police, let someone off from killing a person while driving. Given the size of the population human life is dependent on your (1)Wealth (2) Power, for the law to be enforced properly. Corruption is certainly an issue at every level sadly, but then again the western world is run by the 1% elite who abuse the legal system to avoid taxes, assaults etc..

    • Rachel Jones February 3, 2014 at 1:39 pm - Reply

      That’s a good point. Still quite hard to comprehend bribing your way out of murder! wow.

  7. Elora February 4, 2014 at 11:56 am - Reply

    Wow. That was a roller-coaster. The more I learn about it the more I think I’m going to have to go seriously armed with patience and fortitude. But I’m sure it will be very much worth it!

    • Rachel Jones February 5, 2014 at 10:30 am - Reply

      Exactly! Without patience it will be impossible, and with patience it will be magical.

  8. Megan February 5, 2014 at 5:06 pm - Reply

    Phew, I haven’t been to India yet, but “intense” seems like a very apt way to describe it. I don’t want to go until I can dedicate several months there- I know it’s going to be an emotional roller coaster, and I want to give myself enough time to go through the love/hate cycles!

    • Rachel Jones February 7, 2014 at 11:51 pm - Reply

      You’re right, it’s best to take a lot of time there. Tourist visas limit you to 6 months at a time, but really after 6 months of constant backpacking here you’ll get to experience so much!

  9. Jamie S. February 6, 2014 at 4:27 am - Reply

    I didn´t fully comprehend the “land of contrasts” expression until I walked by a Bentley dealership in Mumbai and there were people sleeping, bathing and a kid pooping on the street right outside the shiny doors of the store.. I completely understand why people say that it’s a love/hate relationship..

    • Rachel Jones February 7, 2014 at 11:52 pm - Reply

      Yeah, it is just like that. My first day I went to the gateway of India in Bombay and saw the same thing- naked homeless kids with sores all over them begging while rich (mostly Indian) tourists were taking in the “beauty”

  10. Alise February 11, 2014 at 4:31 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing this post- I can totally relate. I did a study abroad program in India for one month at age 19 , and the only other foreign countries that I had been to previously were Italy, Canada, and Mexico. I was really young and naïve going into the trip. While I was there, I experienced some incredibly moving, deeply peaceful moments, such as meditating in the Lotus Temple in Delhi or meeting with village women in Gujarat who were being helped by this wonderful organization called SEWA (http://www.sewa.org/). However, it was really frustrating how simple, everyday things that we take for granted in the U.S. can be incredibly difficult in India; it was anger-inducing to, day after day, use bathrooms that were a hole in the ground with no T.P. or hand soap, avoid water, fresh produce, ice, or any food that could make one sick, the difficulty of making an appointment or running a simple errand, not being ripped off or having one’s items stolen (my purse was stolen on an overnight train), the smell and garbage, etc. India is definitely a country that one should experience for all of those reasons, though- to understand a culture that is vastly different from the West in ways that are both beautiful and frustrating.

    • Rachel Jones February 12, 2014 at 10:30 am - Reply

      It’s definitely a roller coaster! I think the longer I stay, the less I see the negative sides because some of what you mentioned I can remember being frustrated with over a year ago and now totally forgot those were things that used to bother me!

  11. Heather February 19, 2014 at 12:56 pm - Reply

    I haven’t been to India, but I lived in China for two years and had my own love-hate relationship with the place. There were times I was so fed up I wanted to (and sometimes did) scream and other times I was filled with joy at being in such an exciting place. I think the main difference with China is that I never once felt unsafe or disrespected for being a woman. Even when I was being scammed by a taxi driver, he was very polite about it.

    • Rachel Jones February 20, 2014 at 5:51 am - Reply

      I can imagine China would be quite a culture shock as well. I think the disrespect towards women was the hardest thing to get used to!

  12. Aileen February 21, 2014 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    I am glad I stumbled upon your blog (this entry, in particular). I am visiting India for three weeks next month. After reading this, I feel I am now more prepared for the journey. I am both excited and scared (mostly excited). I hope that the three weeks I will be there, it will mostly be an experience of love (than hate) for me.

    • Rachel Jones February 25, 2014 at 2:13 pm - Reply

      I hope that it’s all love for you too! In the last 6 months I’d say I haven’t experienced much of the hate side… it takes some time to get used to it but patience is all you need.

  13. Jaryd February 22, 2014 at 2:18 am - Reply

    My first experience in India nearly drove me home when I witnessed a ready body float inches by my face. I thought I was prepared for it visiting Varanasi but not after my 32 hour transit from the Himalayas in Nepal. Despite that though I ended up loving India and even the people despite the situations and occurrences that happened. I still believe its not for everyone though.

    • Rachel Jones February 25, 2014 at 2:16 pm - Reply

      Ahh yes Varanasi can be quite the shock! I had also come from a night journey and was suffering dengue fever- needless to say it was a hard few days. I have met some people that say “I’ll never come back”, so I agree, it isn’t for everyone.

  14. Hope & Sugar May 12, 2014 at 4:29 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel, Just discovered your blog today and loving it. I am digging up all your archives!! I too am from India ( i live in Bombay), but guess what, I still am not used to living in the country. Putting up with all the noise and the insensitivity and the eve teasing and the bad attitude gets to you. I love reading about your travels and you inspire me. :)

    • Rachel Jones May 12, 2014 at 10:38 am - Reply

      Thank you! I think the bad attitude is hard to get used to especially coming from American where you walk in a store and 10 people come up smiling asking what they can help with. I’m glad you like reading the blog! :)

  15. Victoria May 12, 2014 at 2:31 am - Reply

    Thanks for this Rachel. It’s all so true. What a post.
    India can make you feel full of Zen and a zest for life, it can also make you feel like ripping someone’s head off and boiling it in a pot! I’d say India for me was a mixed bag but life-changing nevertheless, in a way that I didn’t expect!

  16. Elena May 27, 2014 at 8:39 am - Reply

    “For each terrible horrible encounter in India, an equally opposite encounter will follow” – so true! . It should be a motto of anyone going to India!

    I’ve been pissed of by traffic so much, a bike rickshaw bumped into me in Delhi and I scratched my knee hard. When a shop over saw that, he brought me patch. For free. I didn’t buy anything.

    It was annoying when I was followed by 30 men around the Red Fort and everyone shot pictures of me each time I’ve stopped. I couldn’t even sit down for a moment as a tight ring of people gathered around be and stared.

    And there were 2 stalkers from Kolkata – one just followed my friend and I for 4 hours all around the city center, taking pics discretely and another one we met later that evening in a bar. He was pretty intelligent from an upper-class family, yet on the next morning he boarded the same train to Rajgir as he did and followed us around the city til we asked him to stop that.

    • Rachel Jones May 27, 2014 at 7:27 pm - Reply

      That is so nice of the shop owner! They can be so sweet. What a horrible story about Kolkata. I have such a hard time putting up with people following me, but what you’ve said was harsh what they did, I would have been angry for sure.

  17. Hannah Wasielewski May 27, 2014 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    I just came across your blog and I love it! I can feel your frustrations, I’m an American expat living in Brazil right now. Although I’m only staying for one year, everyday my mood changes about Brazil. one day I hate it, the next day I love it and never want to leave. I think you made a valuable point in that you can’t change the culture of a country with so many people, you just need to accept it. this is probably my biggest problem in Brazil!

    • Rachel Jones May 27, 2014 at 7:33 pm - Reply

      I know that feeling! Although after about 1.5 years it is finally starting to pass. I rarely have my bad days now :) Good luck!

  18. Dee October 9, 2014 at 7:21 pm - Reply

    I’m currently sitting in my hotel in Mumbai, by the gateway of India; and having being here for about 2.5 months for work, I think you summed up my experience with India pretty well. I was just surfing the net to read about other people’s experiences and wanted to see if how I feel about this place is a common thing. I have gone through the extremely frustrating scams and countless fights with cab drivers, to getting sick and spending 4 days at the hospital; but I feel like I’ve finally gotten use to the life here. I have had complete strangers go out of their way to help me as well, and it always picks my spirits back up. I laughed when I read about the “milk scam” because I was approached by this man and his baby just today and I knew what he was up to. Sometimes I hate this place because it’s turned me in to such a cynical person, making me not able to trust anyone and always giving people that “death stare”. I definitely prefer Bangalore over Mumbai. I haven’t had the opportunity yet to see other parts of India. But with the constant con artist I still encounter on a daily basis, I’m sick of this place. Definitely ready to go home! But just want to say it was a good read coming across your page. Good luck with your work and let me know if you’re in Mumbai. It’d be nice to talk to someone that actually speaks ENGLISH and not someone that conveniently “forget” the language when it comes to MONEY! ha! :)

    • Rachel Jones October 9, 2014 at 7:47 pm - Reply

      I think it’s great that you can relate! India has made me a little cynical too, but only at first. After some time it starts to be more positives than negatives, but after my first few months in India I felt the exact same as you!

  19. Liz Gazzola December 23, 2014 at 10:31 am - Reply

    Hey Rachel! Just wanted to say how much I loved this. When I was in India I kept reading all these blogs and hearing abut “what a spiritual beautiful place india was” and talking to all these people back home who had gone to India and “simply loved it”. I felt like there was something wrong with me, sure I liked India, I loved the architecture, the endless chai, and the amazingly kind family I was living with, but I was also really struggling. I kept getting sick (I got Dengue and pretty bad food poisoning in my first month here) and I was so sick of everyone ripping me off and sexist comments. I had been yelled at more in that first month than I had been in my entire life. I was spit on and young men tried to grab my butt or boobs and then run away. I was always being followed by tuk tuks and sellers when I was walking to work, and had been stolen from while I was in the hospital! Anyway I was living in “the bad part” of Jaipur so I think this had a lot to do with it. I have been traveling now and have found a deeper appreciation for India. I have met so many lovely Indian people and had experiences I will remember for the rest of my life. Just yesterday I was traveling on sleeper class by myself for a rather long journey, and I was a little worried, but this family sat down next to me. They bought me dinner and chai, I tried to refuse but they wouldn’t take my money. They offered me so many of their home made sweets and I spend most of the train ride playing with the two adorable children. I really have met some of the most gentle souls while I was here. However, I think someone who claims that India is a spiritual wonderland is a little misguided and hasn’t really seen a lot of india. Some of India is dirty, and corrupt. There is more misogyny here than at home. It’s all a part of the experience. I feel India is rather like a lotus flower, a thing of immense beauty, blooming from a murky place.

    • Rachel Jones December 23, 2014 at 5:28 pm - Reply

      Ah, Dengue is a bitch huh!! You have hit the nail on the head, there are 2 sides and I agree that someone who only see the postive hasn’t seen all of the real india, because some of India is very scary, poor, run down, unsafe etc and you have to understand an see it all to “get” india as a whole

  20. Mangesh March 31, 2015 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    I left India in 1967 as a teenager to study in the US (the Hippy era). Visiting India later I felt the same frustrations that all the foreigners feel about the chaos, corruption, etc. etc. Most foreigners probably don’t (or I should say can’t) feel the deep traditions, sacrifices, love etc. that we Indians feel growing up. I always wanted to really know what foreigners feel about India – know it honestly. I wished I could get in the head of some of the foreigners and find out. Then at my kids summer camp I found a book “Holy Cow” by an Aussie girl. This girl left India in disgust, never to even look at the direction of India. But fate brings her to India as foretold by a porter at the airport when she was leaving. She had to live in India then. That is when she found the inner beauty of India also. I generally don’t read fiction as during my high school I had saturated myself with fiction. When I read the first page, I was glued. I am writing a screenplay for an independent movie about an American girl finding out that she was the daughter of a person in India. She goes to meet him. I have included all the negatives of India in the script but I am having difficult time to find some good experiences to include.

  21. chinmayee April 29, 2015 at 6:34 pm - Reply

    I totally lovehow u guys come so far to india with the guts to travel alone. The sad thing is often we dont have the courage to travle alone in India and hence have to go to western countries for that all alone kind of adventure ….

  22. Santosh Menon May 12, 2015 at 11:45 pm - Reply

    Give south of India a try!.

  23. Mandira September 16, 2015 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    Prepaid taxis from the airport will always charge you the minimum fare (Rs. 250-300 depending on the city) irrespective of where you are going. Hardly a scam. If you are travelling short distance and want to avoid paying the minimum, you can hail a cab. call an uber/meru/easytaxi/radiotaxi/or any other easy taxi or take a rickshaw.

    • Rachel Jones September 17, 2015 at 4:52 pm - Reply

      They do not charge you the minimum fare always. My first time in India I was charge over 700 rs to an apartment in Andheri East that was less than 10 minutes away. Even at the airport, prepaid will scam if they get the chance. Even now, you can check multiple counters some offering 2x the other.

  24. alan October 20, 2015 at 8:35 pm - Reply

    I have been to India 4 times and will be going again in a few months. One of the many things India has shown me is the value of where I live. Even though I live in a city central location – noise,pollution and crowding it’s nothing compared to India. It makes me appreciate what I do have, which is what very few Indians have. My stress levels are so low as compared to India in general and my worries about daily survival are nothing compared to theirs.

  25. Manjusha January 8, 2016 at 12:30 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel

    You were absolutely right when you said that for each horrible encounter in India, there is an equally opposite encounter. A lot of people complain about scams, stares and hawkers. I am sure, scams exist in every country. India is not different, but it certainly isn’t the most dangerous place on this planet. And in most cases a tourist only has to use common sense to see through those scams.
    India is one of those places that one needs to visit with an open heart.

  26. Kim February 16, 2016 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    You forgot the trash and dirt in India…it’s just unbeliveable! Indians and their government just don’t care!

    • Rachel Jones February 17, 2016 at 11:01 am - Reply

      It’s true, India has a trash problem! There is also a lot of dust and pollution.

  27. Vera Lucia July 27, 2016 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    Hello Rachel!
    I have loved reading your post and now feel a little less “alone” in this time of my life. I am Vera Lucia, from Peru. My husband decided to start an amazing journey to the UK so that he could study his MBA there, 10 months ago. Thanks to the MBA, he got the amazing opportunity of an internship in a very big company here in India, specifically, in Mumbai. His program lasts 8 weeks and I arrived 5 days ago. Since he is working… obviously, most of my time I am by myself. Coming from a “third world country” from latin America, like Peru, I really thought that being in India would be like going a little bit back home again: the honking, the traffic, the chaos. Actually I missed Lima (my home city) so I thought that Mumbai would be perfect for me. I can´t say that I was not prepared because things have not surprised me us much in general… but there are certain things that really do “affect” me and I am really hoping I can get used to it for the time I have left. I love walking!! Love it! But walking here is really a challenge hahaha. I am quite open-minded but it hasn´t been that easy this first days. Your blog has helped me a lot and I am sure I´ll keep reading it!

    • Rachel Jones July 28, 2016 at 6:53 pm - Reply

      Hi Veri from Peru! :D A friend of mine and her husband are from Peru and are very good cooks! They live in Goa. Mumbai can be very difficult and the chaos there can make you feel quite tired or keep you inside. It’s good you like to walk. I hope you enjoy learning a lot about your new neighborhood!

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