India is always portrayed as a world of mysticism and magic, a place where people from the West come to find peace and meaning in life. Especially after hippies like The Beatles coming to Rishikesh in the 60s, most people abroad think all we do is pray and worship cows. There's so much more to India though, in terms of people, places and surroundings.
Here are a few common misconceptions that most firangs have about India.
1. India smells funny
There's reports all over about people stepping off the plane to India and being hit by the stench. That makes no sense. How can an entire COUNTRY smell bad? As like anywhere else, some areas smell funny, some don't (it's also because people pee outside a lot though). There's a wide range of aromas, and a lot of them lovely!
2. Indian is a language
Nope. There's hundreds of languages being spoken throughout the country, from the lowest corner to the highest. 780 of them to be exact.
3. All Indian food is spicy
This has become more of a running joke than anything, but no, not all Indian food will make you run to the loo with a fiery butthole. There's some crazy spicy stuff out there (hello bhoot jolokia) and then there's the calming South Indian curd rice which is like a cool dip for your tummy.
4. India is hot and sweaty
India has some of the most diverse weather. It's cold and snowy here, and beachy and sticky there. It's nice, that's for sure.
5. We're all good at math and coding
No we're not! There's all kinds of people in the country, and most of us are normal, everyday folks. We do all kinds of jobs, from mountain climbing to bartending to playing in a band.
6. There's elephants and snake charmers everywhere
While you'll see a lot of both, this exotic image of a land of mystics and magic men of yore is, obviously, untrue. You just have to search for that magic somewhere else. The country is pretty developed, and both aspects survive together.
7. Indian people only wear saris and kurtas
There's a wide range of clothing, depending on the culture of the area. Suffice to say, not every women is wearing a sari (Putting that stuff on looks impossible anyway).
8. Every Indian reveres cows
Cows are holy as a part of Hindu religion, but it's not like people say a prayer every time they see some bovine action on the streets. They're animals like any other, and religion can be silly.
9. India is a country for Hindus
Totally untrue. The term Hindustan was coined by the Arabs. The word ‘ Industan‘ means the land beyond the Indus River. There's all kinds of people in India, not just Hindus.
10. All Indians have a funny accent
Anybody speaking a language other than their own has an accent. And it's barely ever as ridiculous as we see on TV. A little Indian accent is cute, and I think we're pretty proud of it.
11. Indians have weird pooping habits
Our bathroom habits have actually been proved to be the best for our insides as well as our outsides. Something about correct posture and what not. Plus we use the hygiene faucet, which I can now never live without!
12. Life in India is exactly like a Bollywood movie
Some people love Shah Rukh, while others dig Rajnikanth, but none of us go around dancing on mountaintops and singing in the rain (not usually at least). We live our lives like normal people, much like the world.
13. Indians mostly drive taxis abroad
As Preet Bharara easily effortlessly proves, this common stereotype is pretty outdated. Also, taxis are pretty cool!