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5 Things I Find Odd In India

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1. Cows are Gods
It’s true. Not that cows are gods but rather the fact that many Indians (mainly Hindus) consider cows to be sacred. As such they are to be treated with respect and in many cases, more respect than given for human beings! Don’t believe me? A quick Google Image Search should convince you. And it’s not just restricted to cows, there are many animals which play a role in several Indian mythologies and hence revered as sacred. Off the top of my head I can recall monkeys, peacocks, tigers, elephants and mice on that list although I’m pretty sure there are plenty more that I have no idea about. 
Edit: Apparently crows are on that list too!

2. PDA is a big no-no
For those who don’t know, it means Public Displays of Affection which includes kissing and hugging! It is absolutely not okay for two adults to hold hands/hug/kiss etc. For some odd reason Indians find that icky. It doesn’t matter if the two individuals are male or female, married or just friends, old or young. It’s wrong! Unless one of them happens to be a baby or a kid. That’s okay.

3. Prayer doesn’t work but you should still do it
Indians are quite the pragmatic lot, we don’t mind deviating from the holy Scripture if it means living more comfortably in the real world. But we also love the rituals, traditions and all the hundreds of little things we do every day. So as usual, we compromise. Indian parents will insist that their kids should pray to God every day and any new appliance brought into the house has to be appropriately worshipped (well not the appliance as such, but some random God who’s in charge of such things) before you start using it. 

Not that the prayer will stop it from breaking down but what’s the harm in a little indulgent nonsense right? What is even more bizarre - other than the fact that prayer doesn’t actually work - is that Indians tend to believe in a whole host of supernatural nonsense which directly contradicts the power of prayer. Such as horoscopes, destiny, karma and so on, each one of which states that the future cannot be changed, not even by God himself/herself. So why do we still do it? Just another one of those unsolvable paradoxes that define the modern Indian…



4. Arranged marriages
Definition: A process by which two individuals are forced to live together for the rest of their lives because their respective families have decided that they should do so.

How is this not crazy?! What’s more, not only is it not considered crazy, but most Indian parents will tell you that it is the best way of finding a life partner. The logic? Arranged marriages between perfect strangers work better than love marriages between consenting adults because everybody knows that the divorce rates in India are lower than in the developed countries a.k.a USA/UK. Seriously, that was the proof triumphantly given to me by many Indians! Apparently the litmus test for a marriage in India is whether or not it is headed for a divorce, not the happiness of the individuals in the relationship.



5. Coca Cola is OK, free speech is not
The ability of Indians to amaze me is boundless. One of those things that I’ll always fail to understand is how it is okay to imitate Western habits when it comes to KFC, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, social networking etc. but not okay when it comes to ideals such as free speech, gender equality or decriminalizing gay sex. Indian men don’t have any compunctions in using Western inventions such as computers, cars or television but forbid women from wearing jeans or going out at night, all in the name of tradition or culture. Talk about double standards…

Obviously there are plenty more where these came from like how talking about sex is taboo in a nation of a billion people or the weird fascination some Indians have for ‘Indian Culture’ aka the good old days and so on...but that’s for some other day. Maybe it’s time for some research what say?

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