Posted in Travel

India – Industrial Monster in a hurry

Note: This is not an exhaustive read, my views are independent and based on 5 days and 6 nights in the Motherland

“So when’s the last time you went to India?”

“What!”

“The country has much changed my friend; you are in for a shock”.

Tip: If you want to fly direct to India, I recommend Virgin Atlantic, can’t fault them

The First Impression. I recall Indra Ghandi International Airport back in 1993, dark dingy place full of chaos.  Fast forward to 2012 and you find something on par with London Heathrow, more light, calm, quiet and very organised.  If you have ever watched Bollywood movies down the years, you will have noticed that the male and female dancers have become “fitter and leaner” over time.  This is somewhat the case with Indra Ghandi International Airport, the staff do provide “eye candy”.  However, there is one stark difference between London Heathrow and Indra Ghandi International, those collecting you cannot come inside the Airport, they must stand outside.  So you can imagine when I walked out, I felt like one of those Bollywood stars reaching out to zillions of adoring fans.  So my very first impression..?  Not bad.

Gurgaon, The Monster. I spent most of my stay in Gurgaon, which is an up-coming City outside of Delhi, separated by a Toll-road.  Gurgaon is an amazing place in terms of development, all of the FTSE100 companies can be found there on your door-step, it is, a real industrial powerhouse and will no doubt supersede Delhi in the next few years.  The infrastructure is much improved and the metro system very extensive, however, pavements are still unfinished, with piles of sand and gravel on the roadside. 

Some things just never change. Back in 1993 I remembered two things, the dust and traffic.  Guess what, no advancement in that area.  I recall getting dressed in my glad rags and walking out in my Kurt Geiger shoes, only to find them covered in dust and dirt and that was just walking from the front door to the car.  India’s advancement as an economic power has meant the emergence of more vehicles on the road.  India is a nation obsessed with small cars, however in my view there is no value in purchasing an expensive model because there is always a 90% chance of someone hitting your vehicle each time you drive out.  Ever hear about the old myth that wives would pray for the safe return of their husbands each time they drove to work?  Well I can second that, there is a method in their madness.  After the first two attempts, I stressed not to sit in the front because I “shit my pants” each time, how the hell they avoid accidents I will never know, some seriously skilled driving. 

Another tip: If you thought Rickshaw’s and Auto-Rickshaw’s were a death-trap some years back, things are worse, get yourself some serious life insurance if you intend on travelling in them.

I am not rich, therefore I am no one. There are a couple of scenes that stick out in my head. 1. Being followed by an old lady at Bangla Sahib Gurdwara asking for money, she said she would pray for me to have pale-faced kids.  I put my hands together and said you are asking the wrong person, the one to answer your prayers sits on your doorstep. 2. At functions in India, it is customary for people to throw money in the air where several people are dancing.  What I noticed was young kids standing around the edges of the dance floor, eyeing up the falling notes and then pounce like a human vacuum to pick up the money, only to get kicked and pushed by the cameramen.  One major thing struck me, the hunger for money in their eyes, it was burning, which made them so focused that they felt no shame sprawling all over the floor in amongst the feet of the dancers to collect each and every paper of money. 3. As we parked up in traffic on our way to the shopping mall, a group of kids no older than mine started tapping on the window, asking for money or sweets.  One of them stood in front of our car and refused to move.  Those living in India might be used to this, but I was certainly not. 

If you don’t have money in India, you are no one, no have no human value.  You could disappear tomorrow and no one would know, not many would care!

My Say. India has moved on, without a shadow of a doubt, extreme progress.  Very soon it will be at the forefront of technology, however it will forever remain a looser in terms of how it deals with different classes of people.  Someone mentioned to me that the poor very much depended on the negligence of the rich and how they waste their money, in order to survive.  That may be true, but the burning hunger of the poor is too overwhelming. 

I don’t really care what India stands for, all I know is that somewhere placed nicely in the city of Amritsar, my beloved Harmander Sahib stands proud, a place of sheer peace and tranquillity, amongst the absolute chaos.

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Author:

Someone trying to rip through the normality of life and expand a few horizons.

10 thoughts on “India – Industrial Monster in a hurry

    1. Hi there

      Thanks for stopping by, yes it is a great place, tried not to make my article sound too negative. It’s a place that makes you want to go back again and again.

      Thanks for your comment

      D.

  1. It’s very interesting reading your experience and views on India. I think what normally stands out for us the unpredictable lifestyles many have in India (or other countries within Asia). We enjoy our living-styles to be well organised, stable and secure – where as in those nations the lives are opposite, with some exceptions.

    One thing I totally agree with you, is their focus on money. It’s taken me back so many times, and from past experiences that they sense and focus on money is much much more than ours.

    1. We are so much more “regulated” in the UK and in our lives, everything needs to be controlled and in working order. India though does provide a nice break from a regulated life, you feel free so do as you please, if you choose to do so.

      The focus on money will continue to grow as the lower band of people become more deprived…

  2. I absolutely love all of your tips. I want to travel very soon and I really needed to read this. And you know.. with every culture, with every city, things always progress. Sometimes they leave us behind but they progress for good or for bad sometimes. But your memories of your home will always be :). No amount of progression can change that 🙂

    1. Hey Kay,

      You will certainly have to add India to one of your travel destinations, it will provide you with that sense of adventure no “water sports” holiday can provide. There’s a certain thrill that cannot be explained, only experienced and I was only there a week.

      Hope your having a good weekend.
      D.

  3. It seems India is not much different from Pakistan in terms of progress and culture.

    I lived in the city of Karachi for a year not long ago and while I loved living there life was tough. It’s true what you say… If you have money you are someone and if you don’t, you are no one.

    Like india no one but those traveling are allowed inside the airports. I loved the superstar experience of exiting the airport and people standing at the barriers staring at you, calling you and then it changes as the beggars reach out for you and follow you.

    I remember digging into my pocket for some loose change and placing it on the palm of this dirty looking little boy. He looked at and said. ” nei pound deh… I vont pounds” I was incredulously annoyed at him and thought how ungrateful are you. But this was Pakistan and I quickly learned this is normal.

    While seeing those kids on the streets begging broke my heart, what I also noticed was how unsympathetic people are to their plight. I was told time and time again it’s an act, no one is poor. I kept thinking if they aren’t poor why lose dignity begging, being shouted at, insulted, spat at and sometimes even physically abused. We don’t have misconceptions but people living there have the biggest misconceptions about their own country and people.

    Maybe its just us going in from a different culture and class, we see things differently but there were so many wrongs… Nothing seemed right… Everything stops being right.

    You mentioned the traffic, lol anything goes. No one cares for red lights, road markings… Nothing! My brother summed it up perfectly one time… ” here you have to avoid hitting someone and avoid being hit ” he refused to drive while out there. We took taxis and were never allowed on the buses or in rishaws. The one time we did take a bus I remember some perv trying his luck. ( that’s another story ) 😉

    Your post has brought back a lot of memories, I was lucky to have such an amazing experience. Maybe one day these countries will pull themselves into this century as they have done with their technology. Only time can tell but while we’re waiting for this to happen its always a pleasure visiting your home country that is diverse and rich in culture at the same time.

    Some things I’ll never understand or comprehend, sometimes you wish you could make a difference and it’s not with the beggar on the street, the dirty kid tugging your palu, it’s in the minds of the rich sitting behind their fancy desks playing god with the lives of millions.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences of your stay in Pakistan Aneesa, yes the countries are so similar you’d think they were never apart.

      I think when you see “so much” of something, you just become immuned to it and I can see how it’s easier for them to ignore it and walk on by. Even if every earning person in India dipped their hands in their pockets each day to help these beggers, it wouldn’t solve anything, it’s the pimps that control this business, they should be brought to justice.

      Lol @ your comment about pervs.. my wife’s last memory of India is how pervy the guys are there, for the record she had her behing pinched and as you can imagine, she was not pleased at all.

      Next time I go I will have a go on the 3-wheeler and rickshaw.

      Have a great time in Huddersfield.
      D.

  4. Love it! ! !
    I really want to visit India! And this was like a little trailer… Seemed to be objective because its not all sunshine and rainbows yet it isnt all negative either! Like every place in this world, it has the good and the bad…
    Love it!

    1. Hi Shilpa,

      I think you will love India, so much to uncover, so much happening. Like every country, India has its good and bad points, I am just an outsider so won’t understand too much but appreciate some of the attitudes within the country.

      Glad you enjoyed the post.
      D.

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