Culture Clash
September 21, 2008 2:34 AM   Subscribe

Blogs about India (from an expats perspective): Welcome to India! Namaste, Namaste... please come in and enjoy yourselves... you must've heard a lot about us, but you ain't seen nothing yet.

Don't be afraid--the hawker down the road is not going to fleece you (without good reason that is: he must have a family to feed with a couple of hungry mouths back at home so even if you do lose a few dollars--it's hopefully for a good cause); the armies of street children won't accost you and demand that they get paid, although just the other day two girls swooped down on my cousin brother and his newly married wife to grab the ice-cream cones right out of their hands... kids these days! And the men, well, what can I say about the men that hasn't already been said before... peeing on the roads, spitting paan on the side-walks, and of course harassing women whenever the need arises (sure, we have those types too, but if you've ever made a male friend here in India--he would go to the ends of the earth to do anything for you--just as I'm sure guys all around the world).

Welcome to India.
posted by hadjiboy (6 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds like it hasn't changed a bit.
posted by jfrancis at 3:36 AM on September 21, 2008

A terrific collection - brings me back!
posted by hydrate at 7:29 AM on September 21, 2008

Thank you, hadjiboy. The Indian subcontinent is such an overwhemingly vast subject it's difficult to penetrate (and my Hindi and Urdu are so rusty, I haven't spoken either in several lives :-) A selection of recommended English-language sites is very welcome.
posted by jfuller at 8:42 AM on September 21, 2008

It's interesting to me that the expat blogs have so little to say about the recent bombings. Just part of life?
posted by tkolar at 9:20 AM on September 21, 2008

For a great literary perspective on the expat in India read Paul Theroux's Elephanta Suite.
posted by Xurando at 11:24 AM on September 21, 2008

Lovely post hadjiboy.

Another expat blog: by MeFite Maya, Micronomicon Abroad II

ah India, the love of my life. It's wonderful to see it being enjoyed more fully in the West now. Like any country, there are a gazillion ways to see and appreciate the place.

Old Dharamsala Wallahs
A forum for those who lived in Dharamsala [Dharmsala] in the glory days of the 70's and 80's

I like India Mike's forum

Fun video: How to cross the road in India

Some excellent culture clash movies:
Monsoon Wedding
Bend It Like Beckham

Wonder what Hari Puttar: A Comedy of Terrors will be like?

Ok, a culture clash anecdote:

In late 1985 when I got back from living in India for 10 years, all people I met in NYC thought about the place was Mother Theresa and Black Hole of Calcutta (which isn't a black hole for God's sake, it was a British prison/dungeon). yikes. Talk about ignorance. It was a part of my life I simply didn't mention for the better part of a decade and a half, until Microsoft outsourced to Hyderabad in 2003 and all of a sudden regular Americans had contact with some guy on the phone in Hyderabad and they weren't starving to death or anything but actually answering computer questions and stuff.

Once, when I was staying at a former boyfriend's place here in '85, his latest girlfriend, who was this sweet, pretty, uneducated young woman from Denver and knew nothing about anything outside Denver, asked me what India was like. I knew there was no way to even begin telling her about India but tried anyway. I said, "It's an interesting place, more funny and fun than Americans would imagine. Like if an American director were making a movie about India, Woody Allen might do a good job."

So she said, "You like Woody Allen?" I said, "Yes." and assumed that was the end of the conversation. She said, "I'm working on a Woody Allen movie as an assistant caterer. Do you want to meet him on the set?"

Didn't think about it again but one day her boss had a van breakdown and she asked me if I could help her. So that's how I ended up working as an assistant to the assistant caterer (and set masseuse) for several months on Woody's Radio Days (And Coppola's Life without Zoe, which Sophie wrote when she was a little girl).

On the Woody set of Radio Days people thought it was so strange for an American woman, who grew up in some luxury in NYC, to have lived in India, studied with Tibetan teachers, returned to NYC to relook at life here. When Woody's next film was about a woman, Alice, who goes to live in India, I wondered.

Oddly, this seemed like just the sort of gift a connection with India would offer, always unpredictable, quirky, amusing and a bit bewildering but in a nice way.
posted by nickyskye at 1:57 PM on September 21, 2008 [3 favorites]

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