Saturday, February 25, 2012


I'll be in India in a week. Never have I been so glad that February is the shortest month of the year.

I'm coming to India on "work", technically. I'll be based in Hyderabad for a project, with the mandatory weekend trip to Agra, and a few days snatched at home in Delhi at the end of the trip. I'll be with 30-odd classmates, some of whom are Indian (well, of Indian origin), but many of whom aren't.

I don't know how to describe India to non-Indians. They keep asking me what it'll be like in Hyderabad. I don't know, I've never been there. I keep trying to explain that India is like Europe in some ways - 20 different countries crammed into one land mass. What I know of people in Delhi, Gurgaon, or even Kolkata, will not be true of people in Hyderabad.

I shared the odd YouTube video with my team, and one of my team mates discovered and sent us videos of Russell Peters. Our client sent us a guide to travelling in India, and a checklist of what we should or should not carry, which I have to say, is pretty comprehensive and accurate.

Different classmates seem to have varied beliefs and expectations about India. One guy wanted to know if he can wear shorts in Hyderabad. One girl wanted to know if we can fit in a tour of Delhi in the half day that we get there in transit. Someone else wanted to know what we should be eating and shopping for in Hyderabad. And then there was someone who asked  how we're supposed to handle communications, or if people in India have phones. And followed that up with asking if we'd get a chance to ride an elephant while we were there.

I don't know how to answer most of these questions. I'm going to be a visitor in my own country; how do I tell them what to expect?

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