India Debunked #11: Holy Cow

If you’ve ever been to India, you would have seen cows, pigs and stray dogs running wild on the street.

Would it surprise you to know that these seemingly unchecked, freewheeling (free walking, rather) animals have owners? Someone definitely owns the cows, the pigs are owned by ‘low caste people’ (someone else’s words, not mine. I was horrified.) and some stray dogs are ‘owned’. Continue reading India Debunked #11: Holy Cow

India Debunked #7: What’s in a Name?

I was teased about my name as a child. My name is Tania. In the Malay language, ‘tania’ means ‘to ask’. Cruel joke or just coincidence? The story goes that my sisters got to choose between Rachel or Tania for my name. I was too precocious to care about the teasing but it did happen a lot. When I moved to Australia as a teenager, I finally made peace with my name and now I love it. I can’t imagine myself as a Rachel.

In India, name matters a lot.

Continue reading India Debunked #7: What’s in a Name?

India Debunked #6: Stretching Time

Years ago in Australia, I remember the frustration I felt when Indian colleagues would dial in late for meetings. Lateness happens everywhere in the world and isn’t exclusive to India. Couriers in the UK show up after the advised 4-hour window, or sometimes not at all. Workmen run late from earlier clients and turn up later than promised. I myself am always a little bit late rather than a little bit early to meet friends. But that isn’t all the time and generally the corporate world turned up on time, save for some transport-related lateness that affected everyone at the same time and only happened occasionally.

Continue reading India Debunked #6: Stretching Time

Where are you from? An ancient question

Last month, I hosted the discussion at our Article Club in Gurgaon (set up by my ingenious friend Emma to cater to those of us who don’t have the discipline, attention span or time to read a book a month) where we debated this question.

Continue reading Where are you from? An ancient question

The dabbawalas of Mumbai

My mother’s visit to India in January gave me a chance to play tour guide. I’d always felt that if we had had a choice on where we lived when we moved to India, we may have chosen Mumbai. I feel safer there and public transport is more accessible. Continue reading The dabbawalas of Mumbai

The Pushkar Fair

Pushkar was never really on my India list. It was only after we’d lived in India for a year, using every opportunity to hone my photography that I considered it. I was looking forward to the photo opportunities but expecting the worst after spending a challenging weekend in Calcutta, despairing of the downsides of India, despite its amazing beauty and potential. The trip to Pushkar was already booked and there was no backing out. So off we went, determined to make the best of it.

Continue reading The Pushkar Fair