From the rooftops of the world

I wrote about our trip to Kashmir some time ago. It was actually part of a longer road trip, where after Srinagar, we continued on to Ladakh, a place I had wanted to visit ever since a schoolmate told me about it. I had expected it to be as amazing as Srinagar but I was unprepared for just how amazing it was.

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India Debunked #12: I Am Woman

In December 2012, 23-year old medical student Jyoti Singh Pandey boarded a private bus with a male friend. She was brutally raped, tortured and murdered. It made headlines across the world and sparked widespread protests in Delhi. I hope the world never forgets it.

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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 #10: Are You Together?

Arranged marriages still account for the majority of all unions in India. A recent 2013 survey even showed that 74% of young people in India preferred arranged marriages over one where they can freely choose their spouse. Some view this as an archaic, backward process but it is very much part of Indian culture. Even children of the Indian diaspora in places as cosmopolitan as New York and London consider being introduced to potential partners by the parents.

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India Debunked #9: A Personal Favour

Connections matter in India. Connections can make a difference on whether you get a nice table in a restaurant, a special deal or if you get pushed to the front of the queue when you’re trying to deal with one of the many bureaucratic processes.

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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.

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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.

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