What to do when in India

In the right earnest, I have been a true supporter of the 2010 Commonwealth Games (CWG). My country, my city is gearing up to play host to multinational and multi-sporting event. Despite all the alleged scandals and last minute delays, I believe that the games will happen. I am not a supporter of Suresh Kalmadi or his team members, but I am supporting my country. I do not want that a child in the African continent, who has probably not heard about India till now, gets to know about it as a nation that could not keep the spirit of the games alive.

But, one look at the travel advisory issued by the CWG committee and it first brings a smile on my face and then makes me swallow my smile.


To start with, the guidelines on Visa and, medical and travel insurance seem pretty decent.  But, that is about it, here we go now:–

  • What to pack? Formal clothes are not necessary but something elegant is always appreciated. In many hotels, restaurants and trains, the air conditioning can be rather chilly

>>Well, yes, elegance does not hurt, does it?

  • “If you are male introduced to a lady or a grown-up girl, don’t take the initiative of offering a handshake. If she extends her hand, you must reciprocate, but don’t be the first to extend your hand. If you are female and are being introduced to a male, it is up to you, the female, to take the initiative for a handshake. The rule of thumb is that the female extends her hand first, and the male reciprocates.”>>Please will you drive some sense into the Indian male community too? Probably ask them to not stare/ogle/pass comments/tease……?
  • The Western practice of a peck on the cheek as a form of greeting a lady or a grown up girl is JUST NOT DONE when you are in India unless you happen to be in ‘Westernized Indian’ circles or in the company of people in the glamour industry such as models and beauty queens (even then, DON’T take the initiative if you are male).>>Yes, refer to the Richard Gere incident, even if the lady is ok with it, a lot many may not be!
  • If you find the lady is not extending a hand shake, go for the Namastey. Even with men, the Namastey can be an excellent little PR gimmick! Follow it up with a kaise hai (how are you?) and you have broken the first block of ice if one there was!
    >> Ah, well! Suresh Kalmadi ji, aap kaise hai? 

  • Be aware that public displays of affection (hugging, kissing) are generally not appreciated.
    >>Yep, PDA is a strict no! No sarcasm here
  • If somebody has invited you home for dinner, carry with you a bottle of wine accompanied by a bouquet of flowers or at least a box of sweets or chocolate bar for the children.
    >>Why? When did it become customary in India to carry wine bottles? Don’t get it for me at all~! 

  • Many Indians are in the habit of shaking their head in the course of conversation or taking instructions. Don’t show amusement if you witness this.
    >>I am just not amused with this advisory.
  • Wash your hands before and after eating.

>>Do they generally not wash hands?

  • The units of Indian currency are the Rupee and Paisa (100Paisa equal 1 Rupee). Paper money is in denominations of Rupees 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000. Coins are in denominations of Rupees 1, 2, 5 and 10.
    >>Hey, so 50 paise coins have been called off officially?
  • Some hotels include service charges on their bills. In such cases tipping is not necessary. Where this is not done, a tip of 10% is customary. If you are in a big group and the food bill is high, the tip on the total can come down to 5%.
    >>Hey, I thought tips are discouraged.. 

  • In India, public toilet facilities are few and far between and outside of the hotels and restaurants can be of dubious cleanliness. We recommend taking every opportunity you can to use a clean toilet in hotels and restaurants and that you carry tissues/wet wipes with you.>> Instead of wasting time writing this advisory, you could have used the funds to build some public toilets and spent some more towards hygiene!
  • Self- drive cars though available are not recommended as it is not advisable for you to drive on the Indian roads with all the traffic.
    >Yes, there are a lot of uncovered manholes, places we dug up and forgot to cover back and what not, right Mr Kalmadi?

I think some advisory should have been issued to the CWG committee also.

5 thoughts on “What to do when in India”

  1. Interesting article by Govt of India. They tried to think visitors as completely dumb!
    I am dumb struck!
    If I look on a different note, it might help me as a first time visitor to India. Some of the instructions are hilarious, but could be good when a visitor lands in exactly the same situation.

  2. lol… except 1 or 2, i found all other extremely funny… lol… the CWG scam wasnt enough to put us down… 😛 😛

    If i start commenting on each one… it will end up in another blog.. so i better refrain myself 😛 😛

  3. Hey Sarthak probably you are correct, might help a first time visitor…….but still, don’t shake your head 😀

    Rupesh, I actually just wanted to post it as a facebook status …but ended up summarising the contents of the website :-)) Do read the link… 🙂

  4. i read the link…the only thing i liked tht the CWG site mentiones Indian Express as one of the excellent english dailies 😉

  5. Hi Kunal well…to each one his own 😀 But yea, it is a good one :-)) no comment son the other “interesting” issues?

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