India

India is certainly a place that captured many hearts, but it couldn’t win ours. Despite this, it gave us unforgettable experiences, first-hand meeting with a different culture and in the end left us with unforgettable memories.

We are coming to India invited by our friends – the lovely couple Rhea and Karan. This means that we’ll spend our time in the company of locals who will show us India trough their eyes. Thank you for the great experience, guys!

From them we got to know countless curious facts. We learn about history, political attitudes, and small peculiar things from India’s everyday life.

But first, some dry but important information – India in numbers:

The population of India is so high, that it’s difficult for me to even read the number. But I’ll try anyways: one billion three hundred and twenty-four million one hundred and seventy-one thousand people! For reference, there are nearly six hundred million people less in the continent of Europe, compared to the country of India. Keep in mind also that India is three times smaller than Europe. Go figure!

Anyhow, here are our personal impressions and experiences:

For us, as travelers, it is a huge bonus that most of the people in India speak English. Also, the majority of Indian people in Goa speak Russian! Not that we speak it, but it was undoubtedly strange experience.

For our friends from India it is a bit offensive that the English language is so common and the foreigners expect that everyone should speak it. It is an advantage for the locals to speak two or more languages but, many of them agree that this takes out of their individuality as a nation.

Unfortunately, a lot of people are poor, uneducated and can’t read or write. For their convenience, for example, the coins have pictures showing the number.

Rhea told us that India was called Hindustan – the place for all Hindu people. But today everyone calls it India, which annoys her a lot.

For unclear to me reasons, the government decided to rename many cities. For the time we spent there, Rhea constantly uses the old name of Mumbai – Bombay. Obviously, it’s way easier for the travellers to accept the new name of the city, while the locals just use the old one. Despite hearing the word Bombay probably 100 times, I couldn’t call Mumbai this way even once.

Another story that Rhea told us, took me by surprise. Few year ago, the prime minister decided to fight the grey economy. Overnight he made the two biggest denominations invalid. Everyone had about a month to exchange the old banknotes with the new ones, with huge limitations for how much per person they could exchange.

Jash, one of Rhea’s brothers, told me how impressed he is of how clean Mumbai nowadays is and how in the last couple of years things are changing for the better. For my astonishment, India takes real actions to lower the one-time plastic usage. For example, at the Mumbai airport Tsveti couldn’t get a lid for her coffee cup at Starbucks because they are forbidden now.

The truth is that we saw many places where the usage of plastic and nylon products is abused. But the fact is that they have realized that this is a huge problem and they fight against it. Well, this is very admirable for me.

Now, the essence:

How and why this trip happened? What we did to make it a reality? Who are Rhea and Karan? You can find all these answers in the article India – The Beginning.

After that, you can continue with the travel story about Mumbai. We’ll eat delicious food on the sidewalk, we’ll take you shopping for traditional Indian attire and we’ll dive into the atmosphere of this monster city. When Denny sat to write about Mumbai, she couldn’t stop. Therefore, we had to split the text for Mumbai into two. You better get some popcorn first.

From there we’ll move on to the cherry on the cake – On an Indian wedding. We’ll take you to a rich Indian wedding, we’ll tell you about the traditions that the Indians follow, and we’ll show you how lavish and different their ceremonies are.

After we hear the long-awaited “yes”, we’ll take the plane and go to an active vacation in Goa, India – favorite beach destination to many Indians and surprisingly many Russians. We’ll go to the forest to meet a baba, we’ll sing “Happy birthday” up in the sky and we’ll be driven mad by people with cell-phones.

But step by step, please. Let’s start with India – The Beginning!