How do westerners perceive Indian men?

12 things that will drive you crazy in India

I never thought that I would like India one day. But now I actually like India a lot. I like the people, the many colors, the beautiful landscapes and sometimes even the chaos in the cities. And yet no country has ever managed to drive me to the edge of madness so often. Because Indians have a few peculiarities that trigger the uncontrollable urge in us Westerners to hit our head against the wall - or to jump out of the window. Today for you: bizarre facts from India.


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1. The constant waiting

Indians are just a damn slow people. I think in four weeks in India I have spent more time waiting than in my entire life. Even if there are only three other customers in line in front of you, you can easily wait three quarters of an hour at the checkout in the supermarket. The cashiers move so excruciatingly slow that you want to push them aside and scan your three yogurts yourself.

Often there are two other “supervisors” standing next to them and watching mesmerized. However, they never get the idea of ​​supporting their colleague. He continues to hit the keys all by himself with all his might and pulls a face as if the burden of the whole world was on his shoulders.

The Indian clientele is not exactly making the situation any better. Because of course the waiting time is not used to pack the scanned food in advance. Instead, it is better to wait patiently until the cashier has packed everything into hundreds of mini-bags in slow motion after paying.

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2. The typical head wobbling

Yes? No? Maybe? The typical Indian head wobble can mean anything from “yes”, “no” or “maybe” to “get out of here”. And even if you spend a long time in India, it will always remain an incomprehensible mystery to you. When I asked "Is that a yes or a no?" I mostly just got one more wobble.

3. The problem with the banknotes

I think a lot of Indians would rather shoot themselves in the knee than exchange you a big bill. For some reason there is a chronic shortage of small bills in India and the machines usually only get 1,000s. This is especially a problem if you are out and about with the rickshaw or want to go shopping at the market - because the drivers and traders do not want your big bills.

You should therefore make them small in the supermarket or in a larger department store before riding the rickshaw. Because even at the end of the journey, the rickshaw drivers often claim that they have no change. So be sure to ask before boarding whether you can be changed if you don't have any change with you.

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4. The delays - bizarre facts from India

Tourists are the only fools in India who show up on time anywhere, anytime. The clocks tick differently here. If your train ticket says 3 p.m., it means 3 p.m. Indian time. Translated, this means that you can easily plan a three-quarters of an hour late. The locals know that and are just basically too late.

Only we Westerners are always concerned about this. After all, the train, the bus or whatever could be on time for once. That's why we spend a large part of our travel time in India waiting. And anyone who has ever had to wait a long time at a filthy bus stop or train station knows that this is no fun.

5. Being ignored in the restaurant

You will be ignored for the first half hour in the restaurant. The waiter has to shuffle past you what feels like a hundred times before you finally manage to draw his attention to you. It is really lucky to be able to find a server at all. Because often the employees are only responsible for clearing away the dishes with huge tubs. If so, they won't bring you a menu even if their life depends on it. After all, they are not paid for this.

6. Unproductivity

Anyone who has worked in India before knows what I'm talking about. The extreme unproductiveness in many Indian offices is incredibly bizarre - and unfortunately also incredibly contagious. As a Westerner, at the beginning you stand on the mat every morning at nine o'clock sharp and wonder why you are the only one.

Around eleven, the first colleagues roll in - of course not without first spending an hour on the impossible traffic. After that, it's almost time for lunch again, followed by one or two cigarettes. Then you first go for a coffee and eat a few sweets.

At some point in the late afternoon everyone suddenly realizes that the working day is almost over. At that moment, panic breaks out in the office and everyone starts to work hectically. By the time they're done, it's often nine or ten in the evening. At home, people complain about the amount of overtime that one constantly has to work in the company.

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7. The sprawling photo shoots

I think every Indian has a “Me and the Westerner” picture collection at home. As soon as you enter public space, you have to pose for photos with hundreds of strangers. And by that I don't mean a photo. If you end up with a whole family, a complete memory card can quickly be snapped up. You don't even have to be blonde to do that. It is enough if you look even remotely western. The whole thing has the advantage, however, that you can easily turn the tables and in return you get a lot of great pictures of Indians in their traditional saris and kurtas.

8. The rickshaw drivers - bizarre facts from India

No matter how long you've been in India - as a Westerner, it is almost impossible to negotiate a reasonably normal price with the driver right away. And if, after weeks of training, you did manage to do it, he'll be crying all the way through your ears that he is now making “no profit” and that his family has to starve to death at home.

In second place of the most annoying rickshaw drivers are the guys who have no idea where you are actually going. But because they don't want to miss the ride, they claim they know for sure. The end of the story: the driver will roughly head in the right direction and then stop every three meters to ask for directions. The journey can easily be extended to an hour. But at least you won't just get kicked out - that has happened to me a number of times in Bangkok.

And then there are the rickshaw drivers who tune the taximeter or want to persuade you to go shopping in their brother's shop. Incidentally, both types can often be found in front of tourist attractions and in front of bus and train stops. So it's always worth walking a few meters further.

9. The bucket showers

Showering with the bucket is the best alternative if you don't want to be constantly scalded or poured over with ice-cold water. Only in really modern buildings does the water temperature remain reasonably constant. We even found a plastic bucket in the shower at our four-star hotel in Mysore. Not a nice start to the day.

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10. The “bullshitting” - bizarre facts from India

I can't think of a suitable German word, but in India you get told shit anytime, anywhere. Just a few examples: When you ask for directions. When in the cinema you want to know if the film has subtitles. Or if you want to know the price of an item of clothing in a department store. Instead of telling you they have no idea (or don't want to ask), the Indians prefer to tell you some shit.

11. The stare

As soon as you venture out on the streets in India, you will be stared at as a Westerner. Not only in the country but also in modern cities. From men. By women. From children. Probably even from the cows on the street. With very few exceptions, however, it was never a hostile stare for me, as I have often been told by female backpackers. Rather everything from curious to completely flabbergasted - every now and then children laughed and pointed their fingers at me.

But over time you get used to the looks. After a few weeks I was even more or less resistant to it, depending on how I was doing on the day. Sometimes I just stared back obtrusively. But that's not a good idea with men - an Indian friend once told me that this is often seen as an invitation. In women, children and the elderly, staring often turns into a smile. Sometimes I also uttered a line (“Oh my god, it's a white person!) - then they had to laugh themselves.

12. The unfounded refusals

Often times, planned things just don't happen in India. For example events, yoga courses or performances in the cinema. You never get an explanation or an apology for it. Excitement is also pointless - you will only encounter incomprehension. Well, after all, the yoga trainer in our house community showed up on one of three training days.

India is a madhouse - but you will love it!

I think all this weirdness is why so many people fall head over heels in love with India. Because that's what we want to experience when we travel: foreign cultures, different customs, shaking our heads, being amazed, laughing, crying and going up the walls out of sheer frustration. Perhaps it takes a little courage to fully engage with this experience. But you won't regret it. Because even if India will cost you some nerves - the country is definitely worth it.

You can find beautiful and affordable accommodations in India on Booking.com. *

Fancy an Airbnb? Here I am giving you 34 euros on your first booking. *

You can compare the current flight prices to India at Skyscanner *.

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