India, Perception vs Reality

Facebook, as it does, just threw up a post from two years ago. It was a post which at the time, got a lot of response from my friends and colleagues. It was a post which came about as a result of a casual chat with a fellow passenger on a flight to Abu Dhabi. It was this:

I am now sitting in Manchester Airport; the man next to me asks where I am going and grimaces when I say Delhi. The second sentence out of his mouth is, “My wife won’t go there, there is too much poverty.” I reply in all innocence, “Oh, have you been?” He replies, with a sneer on his face, “No, not me, I don’t want to get Delhi Belly.” And then asks, “What do you do there?”

The general gist of the 5 minute rant which ensued was, “Well, sometimes I go and visit some of the UNESCO World Heritage sights, some weekends I go on a wildlife safari, if Im lucky I see tigers and leopards and elephants and wild dogs, occasionally I head to the beach but actually I am more of an active person so I prefer to head to the hills and go trekking, sometimes white water rafting, sometimes cycling. Sometines I just stroll around old cities and discover the extraordinary culture which is impossible to avoid in the streets around me. Occasionally I visit temples and Gurudwaras and witness devotion and age old ceremonies. It’s quite fun to head out into the desert on a jeep safari or ride a Marwari horse, and in between I gorge on some of the most delicious and varied food you can imagine. Regardless though, I meet some of the most extraordinary people on the planet and I am invariably humbled by the hospitality of people who by western standards may be poor, but who are rich in their hearts.”

I think he got the message.

India is so much more than even die hard Indophiles such as myself can appreciate at times. The variety is quite simply overwhelming. As I used to put at the start of the itineraries I sent to clients:

India is one of the most diverse nations in the world and a country so vast many consider it a subcontinent, with a geographical diversity from mountains to coast lines, arid deserts to lush tropical forests. Within these geographical boundaries there is a dizzying array of languages, cultures, religions, ethnic groups and a rich wildlife that combine to produce a country that is beautiful, intriguing, beguiling, fascinating and baffling. To enjoy India is not to understand her but to accept her in all her techni-coloured glory and occasional frustrations.

Just saying……….


  • GibBob

    August 28, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    I’m with you there in your love of India and the people; the one place in the world that I return to time and again. You can keep your fancy cities and western values of greed and acquisition, give me human warmth and the generosity of the poor. Sad events in Kerala, we are doing what we can to assist.


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