I was warned about India… Everyone told me this country would be my biggest cultural shock.
It must have been the fact that I was prepared with my visits to Sri Lanka and Nepal beforehand as the impact wasn’t as big as I expected. Of course, the culture is still extremely different to mine and thus it has taught me more valuable lessons to share with you:
1. There’s no such thing as ‘normal’
What might have seemed like abnormal to westerners’ eyes can actually be daily stuff in this part of the world. Whether that be doing your morning ‘business’ next to the train track (while looking at the passengers going past), driving around a cow lying in the middle of the road or brushing your teeth where people are incinerated, everything and anything can just be ‘normal’. Important lesson: to always put things in context!
2. There’s always a catch…
… at least in India! If a man talks to you, you can be sure that he, his friend or his relative has something to sell. An older man came to talk to me as I was leisurely reading in the sun in Udaipur. Early in the conversation, he pointed out that he was retired and didn’t have any business or shop so he just wanted to talk. Five minutes later, he explained how his kids and grand-kids do artworks which they have at home and sell at the market. “But we don’t have a shop,” he insists. “You could come to our house to see them. They are good prices!” I thought I was in, for once, for a lovely chat with a genuine elderly local… Nope! As I said, there’s always a catch!
3. Selflessness exists
My lovely encounter with Ritika (read my blog post Inspiring Ritika) proved to me that there are people, in this case young entrepreneurs, who will selflessly devote their passion, time and effort to create a better, stronger community. It’s motivated me even further to take not the option that is right or easy, but the one I feel will achieve my greater purpose in life: to lead, challenge and inspire me and others to be the best they can be and to bring a positive change in the world. Let’s aim high! 🙂