Jaipur, Image Source – Facebook
“Oh! The pollution, the heat, the stinky – sweaty people… India is a horrible place to visit.” No, this is not what I heard some foreigner saying. This is what I got as response from my NRI relatives every time I asked them to visit India and spend some time with us over summer vacations, Durga puja, Christmas and New Year holidays. It was heartbreaking to hear the 5 year old say in his accented Bengali, “India stinks of cow dung”.
The other day, I chanced upon this YouTube video by PsychoTraveller who, among many countries on her itinerary, has been to India too. She has measured the country from north to south, from west to east, and has nothing but unpretentious words of praise for this land.
She targets many myths that have strengthened the misconception “Travel in India is unhealthy” since ages, and busts them one at a time. Steven Crowder, in one of his videos ridiculed India as a land of street poopers. Not sure if the man has ever visited India, but here is a traveler who assassinated this perpetual misconception, stating that in an entire month’s travel across the length and breadth of India, she did not, for once, come across a single human being taking a huge dumb by the road.
The false notion, that all India has in the name of toilets are holes dug on the ground, was rectified by this European traveler who found western toilets everywhere she went. Apparently, her experience with toilets in India were way better than that in many South Asian countries.
That the food in here would for sure get a foreign traveler diarrhea was also rendered futile. Yes, the food is spicy for the western stomach but not unhygienic. The stench of spices that is considered disgusting by many, to Pchyco Traveler was aromatic and rich. While one needs to be a little judicious in picking the eatery, she reinstates what all Indians know in their heart of hearts – the best food in this country are but the street food.
A serious allegation that people choose to level on our men – women will get groped in public – was refuted and smashed down by the YouTuber. Let alone being violated, she, in fact, found our people helpful and polite.
She was presented with the idea that Indian trains are insanely unsafe, especially if you ride alone as a woman. Her experience, however, was quite the opposite as she found her co-travelers to be kind and accommodating, and attests the railways as the best medium to get around.
Don’t you hear that all autowalahs and rickshawwalas in here are trying to rip you off? Luckily for this traveler, this was not true either. She found the host country hospitable without expectations of any kind in return.
Yes, places in India are excruciatingly hot, but people often forget that India is a massive country with varying geographic conditions scattered across; that there are beautiful mountain ranges with inviting weather is something only this vlogger has been gracious enough to acknowledge.
Now for the big one – INDIA STINKS. While she agrees that she did have to pass by places that stank like corpse, India is also infused with the aroma of street food, spices, and a lot of fragrances that easily out way the negative generalization build around her and her people.
I have always found people making undue judgement about India, its poverty, naked children hopping by the street, cow dung cakes, and heaps of garbage. For once, I found someone utter the truth that, like India, there are sad lanes in every country. It’s a shame that the western media has deliberately exposed only the ugly aspects of a country that contains a treasury of unexplored and exotic beauty. Do watch the video to get that much needed boost in self-esteem as an Indian.