In This Chapter
After you dive into India’s culture, you may feel a bit of culture shock. And you’re not alone. Culture shock is a state of bewilderment that you may experience after suddenly being exposed to a new, strange, or foreign social and cultural environment. This phenomenon is as common as the common cold. In India, you get a double dose of shock, thanks to the country’s merry mixture of extremes: wealth and poverty, breathtaking beauty and breath-holding squalor, secularism and fanaticism, bullock carts and satellites, superstition and science.
During your first few weeks in the country, you may be fascinated by the novelty of it all. You’ll stay in hotels where the Indian staff is exceedingly polite and gracious to foreigners. You’ll be shown around town and see exotic sights. You’ll feel like you’re on a honeymoon. But it will all be over soon.
As you try to adjust, you may begin to feel some hostility toward your host country. Familiarity is thrown out the window, and you may feel lost, desperately seeking some key cultural clues and cues.
To help ease the shock, I’ve included some helpful cultural pointers in this chapter. These tips should help you make it through the rough spots and become more acclimated to Indian culture.